Federal government commits $1.96 mil to affordable housing project
Cash ensures rent will be affordable indefinitely for tenants moving in, says developer
An infusion of federal money into an affordable housing construction project at 500 James Street North in Hamilton means rents will stay affordable indefinitely for tenants moving in.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation announced this morning on the site that it will commit $1.96-million to the project, that's being developed by Indwell, a social housing provider in the province.
"It means a tremendous amount for the project," said Graham Cubitt, the director of projects and development for Indwell.
Construction on the 45-unit building, that will also include the Hughson Street Baptist Church, is 40 per cent complete, Cubitt says, and the remaining construction costs are covered. The commitment of cash from the federal government means Indwell won't have to borrow an extra two million dollars and pay financing to keep operating costs in check, so Cubitt says that tenant rents will cover the building's operating costs.
The units are being built for people with disabilities, and they will be ready to move into in the spring of 2021, Cubitt said.
GOOD, BUT NOT ENOUGH
"This project in itself is fantastic," Cubitt says, "but it does really just scratch the service in what's needed."
Over 6700 households are currently on the waitlist for social housing in Hamilton, although Edward John, the city's director of housing, says the number is misleading because some households on the list are waiting to switch to a different dwelling.
John says that in order to make a dent in the need for housing in Hamilton, all levels of government—federal, provincial and municipal—need to commit to funding, and housing providers like Indwell need to commit to providing innovative ways to invest the funding to create affordable housing.
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John and Cubitt both say that governments are finally recognizing and taking action to address the demand for affordable housing in Hamilton, and elsewhere in Ontario, but that the three levels of government need to work together to align resources.
Aside from the nearly two million dollar boost from the federal government, Cubitt says that's what was encouraging about the announcement this morning; he said it shows that those conversations are happening between different governments.