BRADFORD, ONT. -- The pandemic has magnified the need for housing across Simcoe County, and a new 50 unit affordable housing project in Bradford should help ease some of the pressure.

The town donated the land at 125 Simcoe Road for the project and is collaborating with the County of Simcoe for the build.

Simcoe County Warden George Cornell said, "We know the need is here and has been there in southern Simcoe County, so I'm very excited that we are able to bring a project like this forward."

In 2014, the county set a target to create 202 new affordable homes in the town.

Around 900 households are currently on the centralized waitlist for social housing in Bradford alone.

As housing prices continue to soar, Bradford Mayor Rob Keffer says, "it is a dire situation in our community to have affordable housing. It's great that this location and the county of Simcoe is coming through."

According to CONTACT Housing Services Manager Jerry Martinovic, the current waitlist for government-owned subsidized housing is 14 years. "Even with the subsidies, most people can't afford what's on the market, so we have a huge need."

The project has been in the works since 2016 as part of the county's 10-year- affordable housing and homelessness prevention strategy.

The county-wide goal of 2685 units is closer to reality with this build, said Greg Bishop, Social and Community Services General Manager, Simcoe County and "right now we are at 88 per cent of that."

Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2022, with occupancy anticipated by the end of 2023.