Community Stories

Community Stories from Wellington County

Kyle's Story
Bert and Louise's Story
Jeff and Melanie's Story
Suki and Taylor's Story
Gloria's Story
Betty's Story
Rahim and Binita's Story
Caressant Care's Story
TG Minto's Story
Trusscore's Story
The Friendly Society's Story

Community Stories


Kyle's Story: I want to grow my business where I live

NOTE: This fictional story about finding a place to live is based on real-life experiences faced by residents of Wellington County. The character Kyle represents dozens of descriptions we have heard about the struggle to find housing in our community.

Moving into the first apartment you call your own is a dream that drives most young people. Unfortunately for many, including young entrepreneurs like Kyle, it remains a dream.

Kyle was born and raised in Wellington. He did well at school and recently Kyle has found a stable contract that will kick-start a small business and career that he will be proud of. But as any business owner knows, a growing income isn’t always stable, and for Kyle it is not enough to rent an apartment in Wellington County – there are few choices, and what is available is too expensive.

Kyle knows his experience with today’s housing challenges is not unique. It was easier for earlier generations to find their first apartment, often having many affordable options to choose from. Today, all of Kyle’s friends face a very different reality: there are very few rental options and those that are available seem to be priced for couples with two incomes. While he is actively searching for a place, Kyle has yet to make it through the first stage of the application process because of his single and inconsistent income.

Kyle now faces a sobering reality: move his growing business to a community with more housing options.

The challenge that Kyle faces is in part due to the lack of attainable housing options available in our community. While single-family home construction continues, there is a lack of one- and two-bedroom rental units across the county. This shortage of spaces hits younger people especially hard as they want to build their careers and business in the community they live in. These residents often must choose to live with a long commute or leave our community altogether. Neither is good for their well-being or the long-term economic and social sustainability of Wellington County.

Let’s Talk about Housing in Wellington County

There are not enough housing options in Wellington County. As a community, we need to find new and creative ways for residents of all ages to find housing that fits their budget and lifestyle.

To continue learning how we can improve attainable housing options, download this conversation starter that you can share at home, at work and in the community.


Bert and Louise's Story: Finding a comfortable home for retirement is challenging

NOTE: This fictional story about finding a place to live is based on real-life experiences faced by residents of Wellington County. The characters Bert and Louise represent dozens of descriptions we have heard about the struggle to find housing in our community.

When they bought their house more than 30 years ago, Bert and Louise never imagined how much it would eventually be worth. While everyone expected house values to grow, the increase in their property value, especially over the past 10 years, was astonishing. Bert and Louise were thrilled.

However, they weren’t alone: all homes and rental units in Wellington County had seen a dramatic increase in value. This meant that while Bert and Louise did very well when they sold their house, they had very few next-step options. They could either use the profit from their sale to buy a much-smaller house in our community or move somewhere far away where housing costs were lower. Neither was what they wanted. Selling their home was either going to be damaging to Bert and Louise’s retirement fund or their social wellbeing. 

Bert and Louise were lucky to find a creative solution: they used some of the profit from their home’s sale to build an independent residential unit on their daughter's house in the community. It will allow them to live there well into their senior years, stay close to family, and invest most of the equity they have earned.

Being house rich and option poor is a reality for many of those ready to move into smaller homes for retirement. Downsizing can often mean new financial and emotional stress right at the time of life when the stage should be set for new possibilities.

Let’s Talk about Housing in Wellington County

There are not enough housing options in Wellington County. As a community, we need to find new and creative ways for residents of all ages to find housing that fits their budget and lifestyle.

To continue learning how we can improve attainable housing options, download this conversation starter that you can share at home, at work and in the community.


Jeff and Melanie's Story: We want to make our home in Wellington County

NOTE: This fictional story about finding a place to live is based on real-life experiences faced by residents of Wellington County. The characters of Jeff and Melanie represents dozens of descriptions we have heard about the struggle to find housing in our community.

Jeff and Melanie loved growing up in Wellington County. They crossed paths as kids playing soccer, as young teens hanging out with the same group of friends, and as volunteers together for a local charity during their last year of high school.

Jeff now works in a busy local manufacturing factory and Melanie has just finished cosmetic training and has been offered steady hours in a local salon. They have joined a softball league and make use of all the great outdoor trails in the County.

Ready to build their lives together, Jeff and Melanie have everything going for them – except a place to live.

Jeff drives nearly an hour each way to and from his job. Melanie has been staying in her parents’ basement finishing her training and working evenings in a local restaurant. They want to rent a house in the same community they were both raised and now work in, think about starting a family and stay involved in their community as volunteers.

But they can’t find a place to live. There are no options available within an hour’s drive that are reasonably affordable. Even one or two-bedroom apartments are impossible to find and those that are available don’t last long enough for them to view around their busy work schedules.

Jeff and Melanie are ready to settle in Wellington County and contribute to their community. But their housing search has become so frustrating that they are now considering looking for jobs away from where they grew up. They don’t want to leave, but the lack of housing options is giving them little choice.

Let’s Talk about Housing in Wellington County

There are not enough housing options in Wellington County. As a community, we need to find new and creative ways for residents of all ages to find housing that fits their budget and lifestyle.

To continue learning how we can improve attainable housing options, download this conversation starter that you can share at home, at work and in the community.


Suki and Taylor's Story: Ready to move in but nothing is available 

NOTE: This fictional story about finding a place to live is based on real-life experiences faced by residents of Wellington County. The characters of Suki and Taylor represent dozens of descriptions we have heard about the struggle to find housing in our community.

Buying a home is a right-of-passage that many of us remember as a pivotal moment in our lives. Unfortunately, the ability to buy a house in our community is becoming so challenging that families are having to consider moving far away to find a home.

Suki and Taylor want to live and start a family in the community. They are successful professionals, with Suki working as a marketing lead and her fiancée, Taylor, as a healthcare provider. Despite their well-paying jobs and the availability of a good-sized down payment, it is becoming difficult for them to stay in Wellington County: there are very few houses available compared to the number of people who are in the market. 

The imbalance between high demand and low supply means the biggest financial investment of a person’s life has become a rushed process that often results in a bidding war. Even though Suki and Taylor watch online updates hourly and work closely with a great agent, most homes are sold so quickly they cannot even arrange for a walkthrough.

Suki and Taylor are now evaluating how long they want to wait to buy in Wellington County; or whether they should look for a home farther away from their families, friends and careers. 

The supply of homes (ready to move in or fixer-uppers) is so small that many potential buyers are no longer bothering to put in offers. They are leaving the area instead.

Let’s Talk about Housing in Wellington County

There are not enough housing options in Wellington County. As a community, we need to find new and creative ways for residents of all ages to find housing that fits their budget and lifestyle.

To continue learning how we can improve attainable housing options, download this conversation starter that you can share at home, at work and in the community.


Gloria's Story: I’m not sure that I can live and work here anymore

NOTE: This fictional story about finding a place to live is based on real-life experiences faced by residents of Wellington County. The character Gloria represents dozens of descriptions we have heard about the struggle to find housing in our community.

Gloria always knew her career would involve mechanics and working with her hands. Graduating from one of the best trade schools in Canada she earned praise and encouragement from her first employers.

For the next phase of her career, Gloria had a dream job offer in Wellington County from an up-and-coming contracting company that would challenge her skills and provide rich and rewarding projects for her to work on. She took the job knowing that she could stay with a kind friend in the community for a few weeks until she found a place of her own.

A few weeks have turned into months. While things are going great at work and her employer is celebrating all the positive online reviews, Gloria can’t find a place to live.

Gloria’s non-traditional schedule (coming home late and starting her days later) is a disturbance for her friend who now works from home. Despite looking in all the usual places and leveraging contacts at work, she can’t find a suitable place to rent.

Gloria is now getting job offers from across Ontario and may have to accept something in a different community. She loves her job already though, and both Gloria and her employer are frustrated that even with a stable income and lots of local support, Gloria can’t find a space to call her own.

She doesn’t want to leave her job, or the friendships she has made. Unless Gloria finds a place to call home soon, Wellington County will lose her skills and passion to a community that has more housing options.

Let’s Talk about Housing in Wellington County

There are not enough housing options in Wellington County. As a community, we need to find new and creative ways for residents of all ages to find housing that fits their budget and lifestyle.

To continue learning how we can improve attainable housing options, download this conversation starter that you can share at home, at work and in the community.


Betty's Story: Ready to live alone and not yet ready for assisted living 

NOTE: This fictional story about finding a place to live is based on real-life experiences faced by residents of Wellington County. The character Betty represents dozens of descriptions we have heard about the struggle to find housing in our community.

When Betty lost her husband two years ago, she struggled with the changes that grief and loss brought to her life. Now however, she is ready to embark on another phase, which includes a new living situation.

Betty has a lot of energy and experience to share with her community. She is a strong and independent woman who does not need assisted living and wants a smaller living space that is easier to maintain and near stores and amenities. Understandably, she is frustrated by the lack of choices: her only options are a large apartment complex far away from friends or a retirement living community. Betty needs something in-between. 

For those at Betty’s stage of life, finding the right housing option should seem like a natural next step, not a stressful choice from less-than-ideal situations. Those like Betty, who are looking to downsize but also maintain their independence, need living options in their community that allow them to stay active and engaged.

Ensuring housing options for all of life’s stages is good for the economy and the wellness of our citizens.

Let’s Talk about Housing in Wellington County

There are not enough housing options in Wellington County. As a community, we need to find new and creative ways for residents of all ages to find housing that fits their budget and lifestyle.

To continue learning how we can improve attainable housing options, download this conversation starter that you can share at home, at work and in the community.


Rahim and Binita's Story: We want a safe, affordable and welcoming place to call home

NOTE: This fictional story about finding a place to live is based on real-life experiences faced by residents of Wellington County. The characters of Binita, Rahim and their daughter represent dozens of descriptions we have heard about the struggle to find housing in our community.

When Binita, Rahim and their daughter finally arrived in Wellington County, they were grateful to have the chance to rebuild their lives in a community that offered hope and opportunity. Their five-year journey to the County was hard: they had to leave their country because it was no longer safe. War had taken everything from them.

Binita and her family are grateful for the support, encouragement and love they have been shown by their sponsoring organization and their new neighbours. Thanks to the hard work and compassion of a group of volunteers, she and her family are now living in an apartment in Wellington County. But it is temporary, and the next step in their journey is finding a larger living space that allows them to continue their growth in the community.

They would like to rent a three-bedroom apartment or house that will allow for a balanced commitment between working, continuing their education, and building relationships in the community.

For Binita and Rahim, finding the right home is now a barrier for their family’s integration in the community.

With so very few rental options available for them to choose in Wellington County, Binita and Rahim have very few options, especially near the essential community services that are helping their family integrate and grow. The rental units that are on the market are priced well beyond their salaries and responsibilities as a young family.

Let’s Talk about Housing in Wellington County

There are not enough housing options in Wellington County. As a community, we need to find new and creative ways for residents of all ages to find housing that fits their budget and lifestyle.

To continue learning how we can improve attainable housing options, download this conversation starter that you can share at home, at work and in the community.

Local Business Stories


Caressant Care's Story: Affordable housing supports the economy and social diversity

As both a resident of the County and a director of Caressant Care in Harriston, Albert Militante knows first-hand how a lack of attainable housing can impact the social and economic health of our community.

“I moved to the area from the Philippines and have proudly made Wellington my home,” said Albert. “I am part of a team of hundreds of caring professionals at our long-term care facility. I was able to find a good apartment in our community which allows me all the benefits of living close to work. I know that many of our team members are not as fortunate and can’t enjoy small-town living the same way I do.”

The lack of rental units in the area is a significant hurdle for employers like Caressant Care. Many well-paying and meaningful jobs are remaining unfilled because prospective employees can’t find an apartment or house near their place of work. Few people are interested in the lifestyle and stress that long commutes can create and are turning down jobs they want because of this. Equally important, it means that smaller towns in Wellington County may miss out on the social and cultural diversity that larger centres enjoy.

“We care about our staff the same way we care about our clients,” said Albert. “My hope is that we can create more attainable housing in Wellington County so we can build a strong and vibrant community in and out of our facility.”

The current housing challenge has a direct economic impact as it affects the ability of organizations like Caressant Care to attract the best care providers for our loved ones, and limits the growth potential of the local economy.

Let’s Talk about Housing in Wellington County

There are not enough housing options in Wellington County. As a community, we need to find new and creative ways for residents of all ages to find housing that fits their budget and lifestyle.

To continue learning how we can improve attainable housing options, download this conversation starter that you can share at home, at work and in the community.


TG Minto's Story: Affordable housing fuels community growth and connections

Over the past 20 years TG Minto has seen extraordinary growth at its manufacturing facility in Palmerston. Growing right alongside has been the local community as both a partner and beneficiary.

“We are so lucky to be part of this amazing community,” said Kirk Brownell, Senior General Manager. “Together with our local government and other employers, we have seen Palmerston grow into an economic powerhouse. It has been our honour to be part of this growth.”

One challenge that TG Minto, and other area employers and the local government face, is the lack of accessible housing for those who want to live and work in the same community.

“We want to see more of our team members living close to our facility and helping us build this community while they are working and when they are not,” said Brownell. “We see a lot of real opportunities for individuals and the Palmerston community.”

Brownell said that many employees with young families want to live in Palmerston to enjoy all the great benefits of living in a small town. They cannot find homes to rent or buy – the supply of rentals or new homes is not there to meet the current demand.

“A wider range of housing rental and purchase options will let us really see the full potential of this area.” 

Let’s Talk about Housing in Wellington County

There are not enough housing options in Wellington County. As a community, we need to find new and creative ways for residents of all ages to find housing that fits their budget and lifestyle.

To continue learning how we can improve attainable housing options, download this conversation starter that you can share at home, at work and in the community.


Trusscore's Story: More housing is essential for manufacturers to attract quality employees

Like any growing business, Trusscore knows that its success depends on the team it builds in all its locations including its manufacturing facility in Palmerston.

Having a wide range of people applying for jobs is how a world-class manufacturing company like Trusscore can meet customers’ expectations.

“We have a great team here and we have room for more people to join us!” reflected Sturt Carter, Director of People and Culture at Trusscore. “Our challenge is that the Palmerston community doesn’t have any more candidates to apply for our jobs. One of the reasons for this gap is the limited amount of attainable housing in the area. Small town living is appealing to many people, and we know they would like to come to work for us – they just can’t find meaningful housing options nearby. Not many people are interested in a commute, and we understand that.”

“We are committed to helping people build their careers and think long term about their employment with us,” agreed Steve Bosman, Chief Manufacturing Officer. “We pay a competitive wage, have a strong corporate culture and are committed to our community. We know that we could be employing more people and helping them build their lives. We see the missed opportunities for new team members and our own growth plans.”

“We fully believe that having more local housing options for our team members will allow us to grow our business and this wonderful community.”

Let’s Talk about Housing in Wellington County

There are not enough housing options in Wellington County. As a community, we need to find new and creative ways for residents of all ages to find housing that fits their budget and lifestyle.

To continue learning how we can improve attainable housing options, download this conversation starter that you can share at home, at work and in the community.


The Friendly Society's Story: Great local dining means having housing options for staff

Having worked in the hospitality industry since the age of 15, Greg Murray knows how important his industry is for tourism in Elora. But he also knows how important it is to provide affordable housing for individuals in the community in which they work.

As a chef at The Friendly Society, a popular restaurant in Elora, Greg knows firsthand how difficult it can be to find an affordable place to live. After separating from his partner, he initially needed to find a place for himself and his two children. If it weren’t for getting the inside track on an available rental, “I could have been back in my parents’ basement,” he said.

Greg says attainable housing options for those who work in the community are fleeting, especially for those with children. “With the price of gas so high, no one can afford to drive too far to get to their job. They need accommodation near where they work. And if we don’t have reasonable options for housing, we can’t attract the talent needed to keep those businesses running that provide the charm that is Elora.”

Further compounding the problem, Greg has heard from peers and personally experienced property owners upgrading their rentals to allow them to increase rents up to 25 per cent, or deciding to make their units available for short-term rentals, removing them from the sparse inventory of long-term rental options. Many workers, who have been living here their whole lives, simply can’t afford it now, he said.

Greg is a growing voice about how a lack of housing and changing conditions in Wellington County are impacting the culture of our community. He wants to see government and local developers support the building of affordable units, allowing those in Elora to live where they work.

Let’s Talk about Housing in Wellington County

There are not enough housing options in Wellington County. As a community, we need to find new and creative ways for residents of all ages to find housing that fits their budget and lifestyle.

To continue learning how we can improve attainable housing options, download this conversation starter that you can share at home, at work and in the community.

© 2022 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, TF 1.800.663.0750, F 519.837.1909