Affordable Housing Strategy

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The City of Barrie is completing an Affordable Housing Strategy Update. Safe and affordable housing is an important issue to residents of Barrie, and more broadly across Canada. Housing is affordable when people can still pay for their basic needs after their housing expenses are paid. With underlying housing market and inflation rate changes, affordable rental housing and affordable ownership have become unattainable for many people.

The City welcomes participation in this process from everyone interested in the future of affordable housing in Barrie. We hope you will sign up for updates, check-in on the project and ask questions!

Current project status
Barrie's Affordable Housing Strategy will be going to Barrie City Council for final approval on January 17, 2024. If approved, this document will be the guiding strategy for the City to action on housing affordability in 2024 and beyond, as resources and budget allow. After the Strategy is approved, City staff will work on an implementation plan, including any budget requirements, and report back to the City's Affordability Committee by June 2024.



Affordable Housing Action Items consultation

Previous feedback collected for the Housing Needs Assessment (spring 2023) has helped to develop a variety of affordable housing policy options (see page 38) for Barrie. From these policy options, 10 action items were developed (see list below).

  • Undertake a Zoning By-law review: Prioritizing how zoning standards and regulations can contribute to affordable housing development (i.e. increased height and density, reduced setbacks, more permissive building types in all zone categories).
  • Financial incentives: Offer financial incentives for projects contributing affordable units.
  • Prioritize housing outcomes on public land: This option looks at municipal land holding that may be appropriate for residential development.
  • Work towards a decision faster: Timely City approvals directly ties to a project's affordability. This option prioritizes continuous process improvements for even faster approvals.
  • Create an affordable housing funding stream: This option looks to create a funding program for affordable housing projects (i.e. increase taxes to designate funds to assist with the creation of new affordable housing projects).
  • Create a concierge program to move strategic projects through the organization’s approval process: This option prioritizes expanding the current concierge’s project portfolio throughout various City departments.
  • Enhancing participation in Simcoe County’s Secondary Suite Program: The City is currently taking part in this program. This option prioritizes allocating additional funding to those providing deeply affordable accessory dwelling units.
  • Enact a Rental Replacement By-law: With more Federal/Provincial rental housing development support, this option prioritizes preserving current stock while ensuring long-term maintenance of newly built rentals.
  • Continue shifting the public discourse around growth/housing: This option prioritizes continually working with neighbourhoods, developers, and the public to understand their needs while also gently intensifying where appropriate.
  • Explore the potential for Inclusionary Zoning in Barrie: Inclusionary zoning would permit significant changes in the city’s two Major Transit Station Areas to require a developer to deliver affordable housing through zoning.

The Affordable Housing Action Items Survey was open for feedback until November 13, 2023 and an Open House was held on November 9, 2023 at Barrie City Hall. Feedback will be presented and taken into consideration by Council when deciding how to prioritize these action items to update the Affordable Housing Strategy.


The Affordable Housing Strategy update will be done in three phases:

  1. Housing Needs Assessment (complete)
    On May 4, 2023, the City hosted an Affordable Housing Symposium where the public and industry professionals were able to come and discuss affordable housing. A survey to gather residents thoughts on Affordable Housing was open until May 26, 2023. Feedback was gathered, assessed and incorporated into the Housing Needs Assessment document, which was presented to City Council on June 7, 2023. Informed by data and in-depth research, this assessment allows the City to understand where the largest gaps exist as well as the magnitude and characteristics of homes needed across the continuum.

  2. Recommending policy options and looking at new tools (ongoing)
    Staff presented policy options developed through step one to the Affordability Committee on September 27, 2023 and consulted on these policy options with the Technical Advisory Committee. Now, staff will host online engagement (fall 2023) and an Open House (November 9, 2023) to discuss the action items derived from these policy options and understand more about their importance to you and Barrie as a whole.

  3. Updating the Existing Strategy (upcoming)
    The Council-endorsed policies and the housing needs assessment will be summarized as an update to form the updated Affordable Housing Strategy, and the final strategy will be presented to Council in early 2024, with implementation beginning in 2024.

The City of Barrie released a 10-year Affordable Housing Strategy in 2015. Updating this strategy will build plans for new affordable housing opportunities as Barrie grows. The strategy will be based on a solid understanding of Barrie’s housing market and the housing needs of residents seeking affordable and attainable housing.

Housing is a spectrum
Housing takes many forms along a continuum, from temporary emergency shelter to homeownership. About two-thirds of Canadian households own their own home. The remaining third either rent market-rate or non-market units, or are experiencing homelessness. (source: Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance)

Source: Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance Source: Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance


The City of Barrie is completing an Affordable Housing Strategy Update. Safe and affordable housing is an important issue to residents of Barrie, and more broadly across Canada. Housing is affordable when people can still pay for their basic needs after their housing expenses are paid. With underlying housing market and inflation rate changes, affordable rental housing and affordable ownership have become unattainable for many people.

The City welcomes participation in this process from everyone interested in the future of affordable housing in Barrie. We hope you will sign up for updates, check-in on the project and ask questions!

Current project status
Barrie's Affordable Housing Strategy will be going to Barrie City Council for final approval on January 17, 2024. If approved, this document will be the guiding strategy for the City to action on housing affordability in 2024 and beyond, as resources and budget allow. After the Strategy is approved, City staff will work on an implementation plan, including any budget requirements, and report back to the City's Affordability Committee by June 2024.



Affordable Housing Action Items consultation

Previous feedback collected for the Housing Needs Assessment (spring 2023) has helped to develop a variety of affordable housing policy options (see page 38) for Barrie. From these policy options, 10 action items were developed (see list below).

  • Undertake a Zoning By-law review: Prioritizing how zoning standards and regulations can contribute to affordable housing development (i.e. increased height and density, reduced setbacks, more permissive building types in all zone categories).
  • Financial incentives: Offer financial incentives for projects contributing affordable units.
  • Prioritize housing outcomes on public land: This option looks at municipal land holding that may be appropriate for residential development.
  • Work towards a decision faster: Timely City approvals directly ties to a project's affordability. This option prioritizes continuous process improvements for even faster approvals.
  • Create an affordable housing funding stream: This option looks to create a funding program for affordable housing projects (i.e. increase taxes to designate funds to assist with the creation of new affordable housing projects).
  • Create a concierge program to move strategic projects through the organization’s approval process: This option prioritizes expanding the current concierge’s project portfolio throughout various City departments.
  • Enhancing participation in Simcoe County’s Secondary Suite Program: The City is currently taking part in this program. This option prioritizes allocating additional funding to those providing deeply affordable accessory dwelling units.
  • Enact a Rental Replacement By-law: With more Federal/Provincial rental housing development support, this option prioritizes preserving current stock while ensuring long-term maintenance of newly built rentals.
  • Continue shifting the public discourse around growth/housing: This option prioritizes continually working with neighbourhoods, developers, and the public to understand their needs while also gently intensifying where appropriate.
  • Explore the potential for Inclusionary Zoning in Barrie: Inclusionary zoning would permit significant changes in the city’s two Major Transit Station Areas to require a developer to deliver affordable housing through zoning.

The Affordable Housing Action Items Survey was open for feedback until November 13, 2023 and an Open House was held on November 9, 2023 at Barrie City Hall. Feedback will be presented and taken into consideration by Council when deciding how to prioritize these action items to update the Affordable Housing Strategy.


The Affordable Housing Strategy update will be done in three phases:

  1. Housing Needs Assessment (complete)
    On May 4, 2023, the City hosted an Affordable Housing Symposium where the public and industry professionals were able to come and discuss affordable housing. A survey to gather residents thoughts on Affordable Housing was open until May 26, 2023. Feedback was gathered, assessed and incorporated into the Housing Needs Assessment document, which was presented to City Council on June 7, 2023. Informed by data and in-depth research, this assessment allows the City to understand where the largest gaps exist as well as the magnitude and characteristics of homes needed across the continuum.

  2. Recommending policy options and looking at new tools (ongoing)
    Staff presented policy options developed through step one to the Affordability Committee on September 27, 2023 and consulted on these policy options with the Technical Advisory Committee. Now, staff will host online engagement (fall 2023) and an Open House (November 9, 2023) to discuss the action items derived from these policy options and understand more about their importance to you and Barrie as a whole.

  3. Updating the Existing Strategy (upcoming)
    The Council-endorsed policies and the housing needs assessment will be summarized as an update to form the updated Affordable Housing Strategy, and the final strategy will be presented to Council in early 2024, with implementation beginning in 2024.

The City of Barrie released a 10-year Affordable Housing Strategy in 2015. Updating this strategy will build plans for new affordable housing opportunities as Barrie grows. The strategy will be based on a solid understanding of Barrie’s housing market and the housing needs of residents seeking affordable and attainable housing.

Housing is a spectrum
Housing takes many forms along a continuum, from temporary emergency shelter to homeownership. About two-thirds of Canadian households own their own home. The remaining third either rent market-rate or non-market units, or are experiencing homelessness. (source: Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance)

Source: Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance Source: Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance


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  • Share your thoughts on what Affordable Housing in Barrie means to you

    over 1 year ago
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    The City of Barrie is interested in hearing about your experience with housing affordability in the city. Please take a moment to tell us a little bit about these challenges. Four or five sentences about your current experience, or that of someone close to you, would be appreciated. Thank you!

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Page last updated: 14 Jan 2024, 03:37 PM