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Strong Sustainable Neighborhoods Benefit All Canadians

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 13 April 2004 00:00

Across Canada, concerns about affordable housing grow even though interest rates are at historic lows, and real estate buying and development are at record highs. Provinces are tackling their affordability issues with pilot projects financed with funds matched by the Federal Government. Taking housing past the pilot project stage will be up to individuals and organizations across Canada intent on seeing real improvement in the range of available housing, a crucial element in sustainable communities.

The Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Agreement is a five-year commitment that will create affordable housing units in Ontario. This partnership combines C$245 million in Government of Canada funding with matching contributions from the Government of Ontario, municipalities and other private and non-profit partners. The C$56 million released recently will help to create a total of 2,306 new affordable housing units under the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program:

  • C$41.8 million for 26 pilot projects located in eight municipalities

  • C$13.2 million allocated for affordable housing in the cities of Windsor (C$3.78 million for 140 units), Brantford (C$2.7 million for up to 100 units) and Stratford (C$2.7 million for 100 units), and the Region of Niagara (C$4.05 million for 150 units)

  • C$1.0 million to the non-profit organization, Frontiers Foundation, for the renovation, rehabilitation or replacement of housing in Northern Ontario.

The selected housing projects involve construction of rental and rent-geared-to-income (RGI) units for those under the greatest financial pressures. A variety of groups are involved building the units. These projects will not end local demand for affordable housing, however, they may serve as good starting points. Here's a sampling of the 26 Affordable Housing Projects :

  • C$1.43 million for a 53-unit project at 53 Cummer Avenue in Toronto. The project, sponsored by the Newtonbrook United Church and the Taiwanese United Church of Toronto Non-Profit Homes Corporation, will house lower income seniors (definitions of "seniors" may vary with projects), families with children and single persons with approximately 60 per cent of the tenants paying market rents.

  • C$7 million for a 264-unit project at 333 Sidney Belsey Crescent in Toronto. The project is sponsored by BG Schickedanz and designed for lower income seniors, families with children, and single persons.

  • C$837,000 for a 31-unit RGI Toronto project, sponsored by the non-profit Bellwoods Centre, for tenants with disabilities.

  • C$324,000 for a 12-unit RGI project at 450 Pond Mills Road in London, which is sponsored by the non-profit organization London's Affordable Housing Foundation, for lower income families.

  • C$1.56 million for a 58-unit project on Eagle Street East in Newmarket, sponsored by the municipal non-profit organization of the Regional Municipality of York, for lower income seniors, most of whom will pay subsidized rents.

  • C$702,000 for a 26-unit RGI project at 307 John Street South in Hamilton, sponsored by non-profit St. Elizabeth Homes, for lower income seniors.

  • C$189,000 for a 7-unit project at 32 Gordon Street in Guelph, sponsored by the non-profit Guelph Unit 344 of the Army, Navy and Air Force in Canada (ANAF)/Matrix Affordable Homes for the Disadvantaged Inc., for lower income seniors and single tenants.

  • C$1 million for a 44-unit project in Guelph, sponsored by the non-profit organization 805395 Ontario Ltd.

  • C$1.3 million for a 50-unit project Peterborough, sponsored by the municipal non-profit organization of the City of Peterborough.

  • C$110,000 for a 6-unit Kingston project sponsored by the non-profit Elizabeth Fry Society for lower income families and single persons, and C$347,000 for a 14-unit project sponsored by the non-profit Home Base Housing, for lower income single persons.

  • C$1.4 million to fund 85 units of a 110-unit project in Kingston, sponsored by P. Martin Construction.

  • C$1 million for a 136-unit project in Mississauga sponsored by the municipal non-profit organization of Peel Region for lower income seniors and an additional C$408,000 for a 48-unit project for lower income single tenants.

This money will be well spent if these pilot projects are replicated in the selected communities where they are built and in locations across Ontario and Canada. The knowledge accumulated through projects funded by this program and other provincial efforts must be broadly accessible and widely promoted so that these efforts are truly good beginnings.

Your interest in these and similar projects will encourage funders to support diverse housing models and developers to build them. Strong sustainable neighbourhoods benefit all Canadians. What's happening in your community?

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