Haliburton celebrated 12 families finding new homes Sept. 4 as a ribbon was cut at the Whispering Pines Phase 2 housing project.
The Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton Housing Corporation (KLH) and municipal officials marked the completion of the 12-unit expansion to the complex outside of Haliburton village. The approximately $3.44 million development was built over a year and filled with families on the corporation’s affordable housing waitlists.
KLH CEO Hope Lee said it is exciting to be able to open the new development.
“KLH has always been working toward ensuring tenants have safe and affordable places to live,” Lee said.
Residents began moving there in July. The townhouses were funded principally by provincial and federal funding, as well as KLH reserves. The County of Haliburton contributed $144,000 while Dysart et al waived building fees.
A woman, who asked her name be withheld, moved into Whispering Pines in September. The single mother said she was glad to be in a new space after moving six times in five years.
“It’s been a long time coming for me. I’ve been on this list a long time. It means the world to me.”
The initial Whispering Pines complex was built in 2013. The new townhouses are designed for families, with two and three-bedroom homes. All but one of the units are at an affordable rate, about 80 per cent of market value. That amounts to $860 for a two-bedroom and $997 for a three-bedroom per month. Some tenants also qualify for a housing allowance to help with costs.
The woman who spoke to The Highlander said it is difficult finding affordable rentals in Haliburton.
“They need to build a lot more of these because there’s a big problem here,” she said.
Lee said she recognizes the demand. KLH has reported its financially assisted housing waitlist has ballooned by 375 per cent since 2013 and sits at approximately 1,700 households.
“There will continue to be a big waiting list,” Lee said. “But I think we have to look at tenants that are there now, that have a place to call home. That is really exciting. Maybe it’s a drop in the bucket but realizing the changes they’ll make for those 12 households is really significant.”
The next KLH development in the County of Haliburton, a 21-unit expansion to Pinegrove Place in Minden, is well underway. Lee said construction tenders closed Sept. 10 and the corporation aims to have residents move in by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.
The woman said the need is still high, but she is grateful to have found a place for her family.
“There’s still hundreds and hundreds of people out there that don’t have homes,” she said. “I’m really happy I do now. Thank God for that.”