Efforts are intensifying to raise awareness of the housing crisis in the county

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An Essex County man is trying to voice his concern: Homelessness in this area and the housing affordability crisis is not just a problem for the City of Windsor, but is intensifying in the surrounding communities.


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Dave Mota, who resides in Colchester, organized a rally on Sunday in Essex that was attended by about two dozen supporters in an attempt to raise awareness of housing issues in rural townships across Essex County.

“There is not enough affordable housing in Essex County for people to live,” he said. “The inflation rate this year is 4.1 percent, but people do not receive increases. Now you have elderly people, grandmothers and grandparents with a fixed income, who have to decide whether to pay for their medicine or their food.

“There are young people who are expecting a baby or single mothers who cannot afford a house or rent. It is not just about people with addictions, but there are people with mental illnesses or others who are now left without a place where they can afford to live. “


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In townships across Essex County, Mota notes that smaller homes or cottages that previously housed residents were converted for tourist rentals, older homes were torn down for new development, and tenants were evicted by owners or investors. from out of town who raised the rent. .

“Affordable living is not there for people,” said Mota, who works at St. Clair College in information technology. “The only ones who make money are investors. There is an affordable and income-adapted housing crisis unfolding. “

Rally for Affordable Housing participants call for solutions to the housing crisis on Sunday, November 21, 2021 in the city of Essex.
Rally for Affordable Housing participants call for solutions to the housing crisis on Sunday, November 21, 2021 in the city of Essex. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Mota acknowledges that it is just one voice, but hopes to garner more attention from those who could make a difference.

“I just hope there comes a point where people are not just thinking about themselves, but realizing that this is a major problem,” he said. “There are a lot of people in the county who don’t go to the city to see (the homeless problem), but this is all starting to happen here. I feel like the more people we can bring here, then something could be done.


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“Right now, what you see are investors making a fortune from people who can’t buy food.”

What Mota would like to see among possible solutions includes more income-oriented rent and housing controls.

Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche y Coun. Sherry Bondy was among those who joined Mota and attended the rally.

Bondy hopes the community will help find local solutions.

“It’s the main question they ask me right now,” he said. “People call me saying ‘My landlord is selling the house’ or becoming an Airbnb, ‘I want to move out of my parents’ basement,’ but they have nowhere to go.

“I have no answers for people. The only way to get solutions is to get organized. This is not just an Essex County problem, we have to start somewhere. It’s not just about affordable housing – there is no such thing as affordable housing. This will not improve unless we all work together and find solutions. “


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Bondy feels that rallies like the one on Sunday can help build on ideas.

“Maybe it’s more of a residential zoning, new statutes for someone to create a second home (on their property),” he said. “But there is also a lack of workers to build things right now and a huge increase in the cost of materials. We have to try, as a collective group, to anticipate this. “

The ideas could also be as simple as getting single seniors to connect and share a living space, possibly turning municipal or leased land into a “nice” trailer park, Bondy said.

“Let’s all find a solution,” he said. “We cannot just get more houses or apartments out of a hat. I am looking for answers in the community. Right now, a new side-by-side duplex is selling for a minimum of $ 400,000. We need more affordable housing in the county. “

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