When you think of Habitat for Humanity, the image may be volunteers working on a single, detached house that will become a home to a family in need.
But that is going to change next month in Guelph.
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Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph (WDG) is planning a condo development called Cityview Village. The three-year project in the east end of the city will include three buildings with a total of 30 units.
There will be units with one, two and three bedrooms and Rachelle Waterman, the organization's communications lead, said the goal is to move beyond just housing families and open up the condos to seniors and individuals with disabilities, which is unique.
"We wanted people to feel like they were with other goal-oriented focused families and individuals who wanted to take a step forward into affordable home ownership," Waterman said.
'We needed to do more'
Waterman said two years ago, watching the housing market in Guelph and surrounding area, the people at Habitat for Humanity WDG realized it wasn't enough to build one house a year for one family.
"We needed to do more," she said.
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They talked to community partners and realized doing a larger project like the Cityview Village was possible.
They break ground on the first phase of the village next month. The first building will have 12 units.
"We're hoping that the first families can actually be in their homes before Christmas," Waterman said.
The second phase will be 10 units, completed by the end of 2018. Then the third phase is eight units and will be finished by the end of 2019.
Other projects in the works
But it's not just living units – Habitat for Humanity will also build community rooms, trails around the property, gardens with a gazebo, and bicycle parking.
Over the years, Habitat for Humanity WDG has built 24 separate homes. Waterman said now they plan to build 100 units in five years.
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They're planning a similar development in Orangeville and are talking about building something similar on the former IMICo site in Guelph, a 13 acre brownfield on Beverly Street. They city has already said it is exploring the option of putting affordable housing on the site.
Peter Cartwright, Guelph's general manager of business development and enterprise, said in 2016 there could be federal and provincial funding for that kind of brownfield redevelopment and the city is "in a good position to take advantage of potential funding opportunities from other levels of government."
Future of affordable home ownership
Steve Howard, CEO of Habitat for Humanity WDG, said a home is a foundation, a place that provides financial and personal security and helps people succeed.
"Cityview Village is the foundation for future success," Howard said in a release. "The success of these homeowners turns into Guelph's success."
Waterman said the Cityview Village project is a way to "bring the community together to help build community."
"We want people to understand that this isn't just one house that we're building, this is an entire village that will support Guelph and the surrounding areas," she said.
"This is the future for affordable home ownership with our Habitat."