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By Lindsey Stuckless
The Haldimand Press
DUNNVILLE—Haldimand County Council approved the amendment of a zoning by-law, giving the go ahead for a new assisted-living group home in Dunnville, to be run by True Experience Supportive Housing & Community Work Program.
The non-profit organization is already responsible for running the only other group home in Dunnville. The seven beds at Opportunity House on Lock Street are already at capacity, with several long-term tenants and a wait list. The new home will more than double the number of spots, with priority given to people from Haldimand. The new group home will also support the need for safe and affordable housing, which currently sits below 3% availability in Haldimand County, said the report.
Executive Director of True Experience, Sandie Heirwegh, said her organization fields weekly calls from people looking for housing for themselves or family members.
“Housing is a basic human right,” said Heirwegh. “People need a place to call home, not a wait list.”
The new home would be located at 444 Broad Street West and will include six bedrooms, accommodating nine people and a shared common space within the current structure. The location of the home allows for tenants to easily walk to downtown amenities and recreational activities. Staff will be on site 10 to 12 hours a day supporting the tenants in building life skills, accompanying them to medical appointments, and preparing them to live in the community.
While the zoning amendment allows for fewer parking spaces than usually allowed in residential uses, staff discovered other group homes in southern Ontario with lower parking requirements because many occupants do not drive or have cars.
Councillor Bernie Corbett says he is aware of the impactful work True Experience does in Haldimand and was willing to support their application.
“True Experience has great programs making a difference in our community and I am pleased to move this forward,” said Corbett.
The approved zoning amendment will be ratified by Council next Monday.