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Community organizations partner up for Oshawa’s Micro-Housing Pilot Project

There will be 10 micro-home units in two clusters of five units. They will be modular, manufactured indoors and brought to the site for final installation of foundations pre-constructed on the site. Above is the preliminary site layout. (Photo supplied)

The Region of Durham is partnering with Lakeridge Health, Ontario Tech University and Durham College on the Oshawa Micro-Housing Pilot Project.

The Oshawa Micro-Housing Pilot Project is a 10-unit micro-home community in central Oshawa that will offer temporary transitional housing with various supports, including financial assistance, employment services, mental health and addictions supports, life skills teaching and more.

Occupancy is projected for fall 2021, according to the region.

Durham Regional Chair John Henry says 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,” says Henry.

Lakeridge Health will contribute to the success of the pilot project by ensuring 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 evaluation plan will be led by Dr. Tyler Frederick, associate professor at Ontario Tech University, who is partnering with the region in-kind to develop this plan and apply for research funding.

Frederick will be collaborating with Lorraine Closs, a professor in the School of Health and Community Services at Durham College, on the evaluation.

“Lakeridge Health is pleased to be part of this innovative pilot project,” says Cynthia Davis, President and CEO of Lakeridge Health. “Through this partnership, we are helping address some of the social determinants of health including housing and access to critical mental health and addictions supports.”

“By working collaboratively, we are helping to improve population health and fostering a healthier community,” she adds.

Dr. Les Jacobs, Vice-President of Research and Innovation at Ontario Tech University, says housing stability plays a key role in enabling the growth of healthy, equitable and resilient communities and the wellbeing of individuals.

“Dr. Tyler Frederick’s research expertise in the area of homelessness, combined with Lorraine Closs’ experience, will provide important ideas and insights to move this project forward, while our students will receive hands-on learning opportunities that will prepare them to make a positive impact in the future,” says Jacobs.

The Oshawa Micro-Housing Pilot Project was approved by regional council for expedited development in July 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.

The region says this location will be available until the realignment project starts, in approximately five years. The homes will then be relocated to permanent locations, which have 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.

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

The region says the goal of this 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, which will be tied into project participation.

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