Habitat WDG connects leaders with affordable housing symposium

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph (Habitat WDG) hosted a free, two-day affordable housing symposium on Sept. 19 to 20 at the River Run Centre.

Facilitated by Dr. Rebecca Sutherns, the symposium brought together City of Guelph and County of Wellington senior planning staff, developers and planners, and housing advocates. Approximately 40 organizations were represented among the estimated 75 attendees.

On day one, attendees were introduced to successful models in place throughout Canada in presentations from guest speakers.

“This is about capacity expansion and partnership-building,” said Steve Howard, CEO of Habitat WDG.

The goal was to create a community-driven affordable housing solution, one that is full-spectrum – homelessness, supportive housing and affordable/attainable rental and purchase options – to address Guelph’s current affordable housing crisis.

“This was a collegial approach,” said Howard. “It was an opportunity for each group in our community to come together as one to have a better understanding of resources, identify gaps, and most importantly, expand our collective capacity for growth, and I believe we were successful in this initiative.”

Attendees explored tools, structures and support mechanisms like inclusive housing, mobilized partnerships, social enterprise models and community land trusts.

“At the end of the second day, there was an agreement to strike new models of partnership. Both Habitat WDG and leaders of the Guelph and Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination will be working together in the weeks ahead to form new leadership structures,” says Howard. “The will in the room was, ‘We’re past drawing up plans, let’s get on with solutions’.”

For more about the event, visit here.

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