Renters find housing scarce in Elmwood
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This article was published 02/03/2017 (2213 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Finding housing in Elmwood can be tricky, as property manager and past apartment seeker Christine Dawn will attest to.
Dawn has found few options for rental housing available on the market in Elmwood and southern East Kildonan.
“Especially anywhere from Chalmers (Avenue) northwards it’s hard to get apartments. There are lots of good schools in the area.” Dawn said.
Christina Nino does research and policy analysis on housing for the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. She was on a panel which contributed to the 2015 Chalmers Neighbourhood Housing Plan.
Nino notes that the increasing desirability of Elmwood as a place to live is putting pressure on the existing housing supply.
“One of the things we heard during the housing plan is that Elmwood is becoming an increasingly desirable neighbourhood. It’s close to amenities and is a rather safe neighbourhood. Some people are buying homes and tearing them down to build new ones.”
Recognizing demand in the area, developers are expressing interest in building more multi-family dwellings in Elmwood.
Within the later half of 2016, two such potential developments went to the City’s board of adjustment for conditional use permits. One was to develop a multi-family housing building on 402 Talbot Ave. and the other was for plans to redevelop the top two storeys of the Elmwood Building at 189 Henderson Hwy. Both conditional use applications were approved by the board.
Mario Lopes, president of M.R. Lopes Investments Inc., said he and his business partners have worked with all three levels of government to provide affordable housing. He notes that it’s difficult for private developers to supply affordable housing without public sector support.
“Challenge will always be making the numbers work,” said Lopes.
He noted that the mortgage to buy a two-bedroom house, with interest payments and insurance, works out to $1,000 per month. If a developer wished to rent it out for $500 per month they would be losing money, argues Mario Lopes.
Christine Dawn notes that in her experience as a property manager, Employment and Income Assistance rates provide lower income apartment dwellers with too little money for rent.
“Five hundred dollars for a month is not a lot,” Dawn stated.
Christina Nino thinks there will be demand for housing in the new multi-family developments, but it will be out reach from lower-income renters.
“If it’s a private developer it’s unlikely it will be affordable, because it’s just too costly for private developers to build affordable housing without subsidy” Nino said.
Dylon Martin is a community correspondent for Elmwood.
West Broadway community correspondent
Dylon Martin is a community correspondent for West Broadway.