Plan outlines steps to address Oxford’s shortage of affordable rental units and homes


Oxford County Council approved the Master Housing Strategy yesterday, committing the County to a long-term plan for addressing the housing supply shortage.

With data showing that much of the housing in Oxford County is unaffordable to its residents, the strategy primarily focuses on housing for households in the moderate income range, generally between $37,800 and $54,600, and those in “core housing need” because their current home is not a suitable size for the household, requires major repairs, or does not leave enough monthly income to cover the cost of food, utilities and other expenses. In Oxford County, this group is largely made up of seniors, single adults, and recent immigrants.

With most new development offering single-detached homes that are large, expensive and only attainable for high-income households, Oxford’s renters are at particular disadvantage. The plan notes that rental housing for families, such as two-bedroom apartments and single-family homes, are unaffordable to roughly 70% of the County’s rental households. With growing communities and home ownership out of reach for many, the demand for rental housing is only expected to increase.

Specific recommendations in the Master Housing Strategy include:

  • Continue the commitment to adding a minimum of 50 new affordable units per year. Since 2015, the County has exceeded the 50-unit target with support from $23.5 million in federal and provincial funding and $10.7 million in County funding.
  • Maintain an inventory of “shovel ready” affordable housing sites so the County can quickly mobilize to meet timelines for federal and provincial funding opportunities. The strategy puts forward a list of 10 viable housing projects along with preliminary concept plans and financial analyses for each.
  • Exempt affordable housing projects from County planning fees and encourage Oxford’s area municipalities to do the same.
  • Adjust existing housing funding programs to allow more people to take part. This includes adding a second funding stream for the My Second Unit program so that it offers assistance for both affordable housing and market rate rentals, and potentially increasing the down payment assistance for the Home Ownership Program.
  • Introduce a housing repair program for both community housing providers and individual homeowners struggling to maintain their homes or units, for instance, because of aging.
  • Pursue necessary policy changes to expand income eligibility for affordable rental housing to keep pace with current rental prices and the need for moderate income housing.

The Master Housing Strategy supports Oxford County’s 10-Year Shelter Plan, which sets objectives and targets to support the vision of affordable housing for all. That plan also includes specific actions to address homelessness.

The Master Housing Strategy can be read online at



Warden Marcus Ryan, Oxford County

“Housing supply continues to be a primary focus for County Council-- both ensuring affordable housing is available in our communities, as well as addressing the growing number of people in our communities who have no home. This plan offers a strong strategic approach to prioritizing our opportunities to combine County funding with provincial and federal funding so that affordable and attainable housing projects happen as quickly as possible.”


Quick facts  

  • Since 2007, County Council has approved a total of 30 affordable housing projects totaling 568 affordable units (residences).
  • The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oxford’s urban areas is $1,500 in Woodstock and $1,400 in Tillsonburg and Ingersoll.
  • Vacancy rates in Oxford are below the 3% rate that signals a balanced market between tenants and owners. The vacancy rate in Woodstock is approximately 1.4%, while Tillsonburg is at 2.4% and Ingersoll is at 1.3%.
  • There are currently approximately 2,400 households on the County’s wait list for community housing.