The City of Windsor is looking for residents’ input on the Housing and Homelessness Plan.

For the past five years, Windsor-Essex has been implementing approaches and policies that will help establish a housing system that gives everyone the opportunity to have a quality, safe, affordable and accessible home. 

Through the current housing and homelessness plan, officials say Windsor-Essex has improved access to emergency housing and housing support services; increased housing options to meet the needs of vulnerable individuals and families; and, through partnerships with community groups and organizations, assisted people in obtaining the supports needed to obtain and maintain housing.

But Debbie Cercone, the city's executive director of housing and children's services, says there is still more work to be done.

“Affordable housing is the way that you solve homelessness,” says Cercone.

Cercone tells CTV Windsor there are still five thousand people on a waiting list for affordable housing.

“That is a 50 plus increase since around 2012 and it continues to grow every month so obviously that is an indicator that supply doesn't meet demand,” adds Cercone.

This spring, an updated plan, The Windsor Essex Housing and Homelessness Master Plan will be developed.

An integral part of this process is reviewing the work completed so far.

According to Cercone, the city has created 100 new affordable housing units since 2014, and has also increased support systems for people living on the streets.

But she notes rent prices have gone up and vacancies are down, and overall homelessness continues to grow.

The city is asking for the community’s help to identify current housing and homelessness needs within Windsor-Essex and ideas to address those needs in the region.

The Windsor-Essex Housing and Homelessness Survey will be open until Feb. 10, 2019 and should take less than 10 minutes to complete.