Durham Region collaborating on Oshawa Micro-Housing Project

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Regional Municipality of Durham will partner with Lakeridge Health, Ontario Tech University and Durham College to build the Oshawa Micro-Housing Pilot Project, a 10-unit micro-home community that will offer temporary transitional housing.

Occupancy is projected for fall 2021.

“The partnership between the Region and Lakeridge Health, Ontario Tech University and Durham College will support the success of the Oshawa Micro-Housing Pilot Project by ensuring participants have access to the supports and services they may need. No one should get left behind or fall through the cracks and, by working collaboratively with our community partners, we can end chronic homelessness in Durham Region,” said John Henry, regional chair and CEO.

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Lakeridge Health will ensure program participants have access to community-based mental health and addiction supports. They will serve as health sector leaders on the planning working group to develop the support model for residents and will partner with Ontario Tech University and Durham College to create the evaluation plan of the pilot.

The Oshawa Micro-Housing Pilot Project is aligned with At Home In Durham, the Durham Housing Plan (2014-2024), which aims to end chronic homelessness in Durham.

“There is an urgent need for housing in Durham Region and the Oshawa Micro-Housing Pilot Project will help us move towards our goal of ending chronic homelessness in our community,” said Stella Danos-Papaconstantinou, commissioner of social services.

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The Oshawa Micro-Housing Pilot Project was approved by Regional Council for expedited development on July 29, 2020 due to an urgent need for affordable and supportive housing.

The micro-home units will be located on Regionally owned land in central Oshawa: fronting Olive Avenue to the south, Drew Street to the east, and Banting Avenue to the north. This location will be available until a realignment project starts, in approximately five years. The homes will then be relocated to a permanent location, which has yet to be determined.

The micro-home units will be modular units, manufactured indoors and brought to the site for final installation. Design is still under development; environmental considerations will be prioritized to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Region is working with the Health, Homelessness and Housing Committee (H3), a sub-committee of the Durham Advisory Committee on Homelessness (DACH), to address the eligibility, intake process and ongoing supports needed for the Oshawa Micro-Housing Pilot Project.

“We are thrilled to have Durham College provide expertise to this project, in particular Lorraine’s unique experience in developing co-design and co-production models for social innovation initiatives,” said Debbie McKee-Demczyk, Dean at Durham College. “That, in combination with Dr. Tyler Frederick’s wealth of knowledge on homelessness, and the resources available through our Social Impact Hub will allow us to evaluate an innovative and creative strategy that addresses chronic homelessness in real time. It also provides our students with the opportunity to gain valuable experience in applied research while contributing to work that is making a difference in their own community.”

The goal of the time-limited transitional housing is to help bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing. Residents will enter into a Participation Agreement, as opposed to signing a lease, that will be tied into program participation.

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