Huron County is bridging the ‘missing middle’ affordable housing gap in Goderich | CBC News


When it comes to affordable housing, Huron County is taking on the challenge of bridging the gap for what it calls the “missing middle” in housing options.

Homelessness and housing gaps are not unique to urban centres, and now rural areas are also being tasked with finding solutions to help those facing escalating housing costs and the sharp rise in inflation.

The county was recently approved to build two triplexes on Bennett Street in Goderich, Ont., that will offer six one-bedroom affordable units.

Denise Van Amersfoort is the manager of planning with the County of Huron. (Huron County)

“This is a new form of housing for Huron County. Typically, our affordable housing portfolio has been made up of apartment buildings largely, as well as some single-family homes,” said Denise Van Amersfoort, the manager of planning with the county.

Van Amersfoort said the project was designed by local architect Allan Avis and fits the category of the “missing middle,” which offers housing solutions between a traditional apartment building and a single-detached home.

“It’s a form of gentle density,” she said. “While it contained three units, it really fits into the established neighbourhood. Most of the surrounding units are single dwellings, and this building fits in beautifully.”

They also fit the criteria laid out by the county’s newly developed Residential Intensification Guidelines.

Once constructed, the homes will be available for those who are currently on the county’s affordable housing wait list, which currently sits at about 575 applicants, according to Van Amersfoort.

“What we’ve seen is a chronic shortage in terms of the number of units being built based on the number of households being formed,” she said. “What we’re also seeing as the impacts of inflation and this overall increase in housing costs, many individuals are not able to find a unit that will meet their budget.”

The county also recently approved the development of a $20.4-million four-storey apartment building on Gibbons Street, which will provide an additional 39 affordable units in 2024. All of the funding is coming from the county, with no investment from the federal government or the province.

The population of Goderich has increased by 3.3 per cent in recent years to over 7,800 residents, according to the latest census data from Statistics Canada.

LISTEN – Denise Van Amersfoort discusses Goderich’s affordable housing update with CBC Afternoon Drive host Allison Devereaux:

Afternoon Drive6:04County-owned Housing Underway in Goderich

County-owned housing is being built in Goderich. Host Allison Devereaux is joined by Denise Van Amersfoort, the manager of planning with the County of Huron, to hear how one county is addressing a problem many rural communities have: a shortage of different types of housing.

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