Sioux Lookout, Ontario – Northern Ontario is facing a housing shortage that may become the limiting factor to the growth of communities in this area. The Northern Housing Summit (NHS) seeks to bring together professionals, non-profits, builders, government and First Nations to find solutions for the lack of housing in Northern Ontario. A prime example of this shortage can be seen in the Municipality of Sioux Lookout where there are 150 job vacancies which represent 30% of all available posted jobs in Northwestern Ontario but only 3.5% of Northwestern Ontario’s available housing market is in Sioux Lookout.
This shortage will only become more apparent with the expected increase in jobs and population created by projects like Wataynikaneyap Power. The lack of housing includes sectors such as education, medical, social services, and private sector employers. For example in education over 300 students from the Far North communities neighbouring Sioux Lookout require housing and partners are preparing to address this growing need at the summit.
The lack of new housing in Northern Ontario is not the only issue. Market Rental Housing is the largest gap in the market. Families may not have the means to purchase or build a new home so other options must be explored. The NHS has partnered with developers, property management companies as well as modular home companies to aid in the development of innovative, affordable and attainable housing solutions that can be implemented during this period of growth in Northern Ontario. Some of these partners are coming from as far as Finland, “From the Finnish point of view, Sioux Lookout area could be a great showcase of forest-based bioenergy and sustainable green living.” said Dr. Lauri Sikanen from Natural Resources Institute Finland.
The NHS has even attracted Mainland China who will have representation at the Summit. Wenda “Jack” DAI, explained, “The Guangdong Peoples Republic of CHINA, has a high interested in developing deeper and long-term relations with Canadian communities and especially in Northern Ontario and neighbouring First Nation communities. We look forward to participating next week and developing partnership opportunities to address the housing and employment challenges.”
The Northern Housing Summit will be taking place in Sioux Lookout June 26th – 28th at which housing solutions for a growing Northern Ontario will be discussed will be discussed by stakeholders who require housing and those who can provide housing solutions including developers, sub-contractors, housing agencies, employers, and public funders. There is still time for delegates and exhibitors to register and add their voice to this historic Summit. More information is available on the Summit website northernhousingsummit.ca.