London

Social housing developer prepares to open new affordable housing project

Affordable housing developer Indwell hopes they can boost peoples' access to affordable housing in the city

Two housing projects are already on the table with hopes for more in the future to come out

Graham Cubitt is the director of projects and development social housing provider Indwell. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

 Affordable housing developer Indwell is preparing to open the first of two rental properties in hopes of combating homelessness in the city.

Indwell is the largest affordable housing developer in South Western Ontario. They've provided affordable housing in communities such as Hamilton, Woodstock and Oxford county.

In London, they are currently working on two affordable building projects, with hopes for more in the future. 

Their first project, located at 356 Dundas street, will be opening on July 15. The building has 67 one-bedroom apartments for $560 a month. An official with Indwell said more than 250 people have applied for the remaining 30 spots in the building and they will be filled from the existing applications.

Graham Cubitt, the director of projects and development with Indwell, says they want to give people a chance to be able to participate in the community.

"Our tenants do experience a wide spectrum of life circumstances. So whether they might have a mental illness, or a physical disability...living with low income due to an intellectual disability or other circumstances....how do we help them achieve their best potential? Living in their own apartment in a community," he said.

In addition to providing housing and rent at an affordable rate, the agency also provides services for their community members.  

"From that starting point, we put out community connections. We do a lot of networking, financial literacy, cooking skills, finding community associations to belong to, opportunities to work or volunteering...Really it's about fostering that community inclusion for each one of our tenants...and within the community," Cubitt said.

Really it's about fostering that community inclusion for each one of our tenants...and within the community.- Graham Cubitt, Director of Projects for Indwell

Indwell is also working in partnership with other mental health agencies around the city to provide support to tenants. The Canadian Mental Health Association and the Parkwood Institute are collaborating with the agency to help break the cycle of re-hospitalization and homelessness. 

'We know that there's a major problem in the community with people not being able to be discharged from the hospital. We're trying to help address some of those issues, and give people living in the community who don't need to be living in hospital [but making sure that] the support systems [are] around them," said Cubitt. 

Indwell's second affordable housing building will be at 744 Dundas street with 75 one-bedroom apartments. Construction on the 16-month project is expected to start in the spring. 

Indwell hopes they can make their work a collaborative effort with other housing providers in London to make a greater impact.

"We would love to work with London-Middlesex Community Housing and other social housing providers to say 'how can we provide supportive housing alongside the affordable housing that other social housing providers would offer'," Cubitt said.

He's confident that Indwell can make a difference in the city alongside other community partners. He says that Indwell hopes to focus on other areas where affordable housing is needed in the city. 

"Homelessness is such a problem, it seems pervasive, it seems overwhelming. But knowing that we can actually do things that work and that make a difference in the lives of people...we're feeling very energized by the community's response," Cubitt said.

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story indicated there were still some vacancies in the building at 356 Dundas Street. However, as Indwell has pointed out, the remaining 30 spots will be filled from applications that were received before the story was published.
    Jun 24, 2019 10:39 AM ET