In an effort to decrease the waiting list for social housing, Chatham-Kent Housing Services is ramping up a proactive plan to secure rent supplement agreements with private sector landlords.

“With a record number of individuals, families and seniors on our current social housing waitlist, we are turning to local private sector landlords to encourage participation in the rent supplement program that we believe is a win-win for landlords and tenants,” stated Kristen Williams, Manager Tenant Relations, Chatham-Kent Housing Services, in a press release.

The rent supplement program is a form of social housing whereby units in buildings owned by private sector landlords are subsidized for tenants who cannot afford market level rents.

Rent supplements involve a contract between these private landlords and Chatham-Kent Housing Services. Separate from the signed agreement between the landlord and CKHS, the tenant must sign a lease with the landlord upon commencement of tenancy.

Tenants pay a rent-geared-to-income (RGI) portion of the rent directly to the landlord and the rent supplement program bridges the gap between the actual market rent for the unit and the tenant’s RGI rent.

Rent supplement tenants are selected from the centralized waiting list compiled by Housing Services and they are seamlessly integrated into existing neighbourhoods and communities throughout Chatham-Kent.

“Chatham-Kent Housing Services and the Private Non-Profit Sector cannot meet the current need for subsidized housing alone. We need our private landlords to partner with us to effectively address the increased needs in our community,” said Williams added.

Currently there are 115 rent supplement units across 18 buildings in Chatham, Wallaceburg, Ridgetown, Tilbury and Thamesville.

Municipality of Chatham-Kent officials say they are looking for approximately 16 additional units throughout Chatham-Kent.

The advantages to private sector landlords providing rent supplement units are:

– Pre-screened tenant referrals will come directly from Housing Services.

– Full rent amount is paid by Housing Services during tenant transitions (limitations apply).

– CKHS supports will be provided for successful tenancy. Community Relations Workers are available to assist with tenant issues management.

– Landlords will be assisting to provide affordable, suitable and adequate housing for residents of Chatham-Kent

“Currently, Garden Green Apartments houses four tenants through the rent supplement program,” stated Amber Pinsonneault, a private landlord in Chatham-Kent, in a press release.

“From the various programs offered throughout the Municipality, the rent supplement program is one of the best partnerships due to the screening process made available by Housing Services.”

Pinsonneault added: “The program offers security for long-term tenancy and allows you the choice of selecting a tenant that is the most suitable for your building. All four tenants have been successful in their housing and take care of their units. Any issues that arise throughout tenancy can be resolved with the Housing Services staff and your mutual client.”

Prospective private landlords who are interested in participating in the rent supplement program are encouraged to contact Williams.

“Being a part of a housing program that assists in filling the gaps between what tenant’s can afford and market rent without compromise, is one I highly recommend private Landlords to sign up for. This partnership is what makes Chatham-Kent an affordable place to live,” Pinsonneault added.

Chatham-Kent Housing Services administers programs that provide community residents with a variety of affordable housing options.

The Municipality is partnered with 13 private non-profit social housing providers as well as providing municipally-owned public housing.

Various community agencies provide supportive services enabling those residents to live independently.

The vision of the Municipality is to ensure every person in Chatham-Kent has an affordable, suitable, and adequate home that provides the foundation needed to secure employment, raise a family, and build strong communities.