By Seth DuChene
Those curious about adding a secondary suite to their homes but don’t know where to start now have an opportunity to have their questions answered.
Housing Action Lennox and Addington — a group made up of local non-profit agencies aimed at increasing affordable housing in the county — is hosting an information night designed to give an overview of the process of creating a secondary suite as well as an introduction to the supports that are in place to help make these projects happen.
“I think lots of people have some trepidation about what having a secondary suite would be like — who would rent it, or what their obligations would be in terms of insurance and in terms of things like building code,” said Sue Weir, Executive Director of Interval House and a member of HALA.
“We’re hoping to get people who don’t necessarily think of themselves as providers of affordable housing who might be interested in increasing stock and who have maybe thought about it but don’t have the ‘lay of the land’ or what the process is or what it entails,” she added.
Weir says there will be a representative from the Greater Napanee Building Department to discuss Building Code issues; a representative from Greater Napanee Emergency Services to discuss Fire Code issues and a representative from McDougall Insurance to discuss insurance issues. The panel will also include a person from Prince Edward County who has experience in secondary suite projects as well as a representative from Greater Napanee who can speak to grant opportunities for those adding secondary suites.
“There is some funding available through the municipality (for secondary suites) and I think it’s one of Napanee’s best kept secrets,” said Weir.
Creating secondary suites might be a particularly attractive option for new homeowners as well as seniors, Weir says. Contractors, landlords, developers and real estate agents might find the session valuable as well.
For HALA, the creation of more secondary suites is one way the community can tackle the lack of affordable housing in the community. “There are 400-plus families on the wait list for affordable housing in L&A County. It’s pretty extreme. I think there’s certainly no surplus inventory. I also think it’s one of those problems that government’s not going to come and build 400 units,” said Weir.
“If you get 10 more units in your community of affordable housing that also supports people being able to be maintained in their own homes, that’s definitely a win-win,” she continued. “It’s not something that is going to be government built, it’s going to have to be something that’s community built.”
The information meeting takes place at the Selby Community Hall from 5:30-7 p.m. on Oct. 17.