What does affordable housing mean?

    The definition of affordable housing is a combination of a few factors. In general, affordable housing means that housing costs each month take up no more than 30% of the household’s monthly gross income. 

    Another way to define affordability is by looking at relative affordability within a local housing market. Affordable housing can be considered housing that is lower in cost than the average market rate in the local community.

    The housing market has seen lots of change in the last five years. How is the City of Barrie defining affordability?

    Housing costs vary based on location and housing type. Part of the goal of the City's Affordable Housing Strategy update is to better understand what current housing costs are in real terms in Barrie in 2023.  

    A Needs Assessment will look at average income ranges in Barrie and these will be reviewed along with average market prices and rents. The Needs Assessment will help define what affordable means in Barrie and must be in line with the Official Plan and Provincial Policy.

    Why are current ownership or rental costs so important? Isn’t affordable housing subsidized by the government?

    Housing units that are subsidized through tax revenue are also known as Social Housing. Programs that offer Social Housing deliver one type of affordable housing. Affordable housing can be subsidized, but it does not need to be.  For example, affordable housing can be available through market rate housing, in not-for-profit, as well as for-profit models. 

    Why is affordable housing sometimes referred to as being on a spectrum? Wouldn’t it be easier to identify a specific program and focus support there?

    Affordable housing is needed by a variety of households in the City of Barrie. Depth of affordability is another term that can be helpful in thinking about the range of affordable housing options. The lower the cost of the housing is, compared to market rate, the deeper the affordability. 

    An Affordable Housing Strategy can offer a range of programs to cover moderate affordability or more deeply affordable housing. This approach allows the City to support affordability programs for a range of incomes in different housing types within the city.    

    Living costs and the cost of housing is a big topic these days. What made Barrie to start this discussion now? What is the purpose of this Strategy?

    The City of Barrie is carrying out an update to its Affordable Housing Strategy. This process is carried out every ten years. It sets out a range of goals, including the number, type, and general location for where new housing should be planned. These goals must also be reflected in the City’s Official Plan and the Provincial Policy.  

    As the strategy gets underway, there will be several opportunities to engage and be part of the discussion. Sign up on this page for updates!