London

Local foundation doubles affordable housing fund to $20M

The London Community Foundation is doubling its financial assistance toward affordable housing with a dedicated fund for of up to $20 million

The fund will help non-profit organizations to get shovels in the ground

LCF CEO Martha Powell says that during the past six years, the foundation has been able to loan $10 million dollars through it's social impact fund that has helped create 341 affordable housing units.  (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

The London Community Foundation (LFC) is doubling its financial assistance toward affordable housing with a dedicated fund of up to $20 million.

"The need is there and we felt we needed to get our feet in the sandbox and help leverage additional funds, help the city do what they're trying to do, and really help our community be a vibrant strong safe place that people want to live and play in," Martha Powell, the president and CEO of the foundation, told CBC News. 

But, the foundation itself won't be putting shovels in the ground.

"We're not building and we're not going to be landlords, but we are going to facilitate the ability for primarily nonprofit organizations to create affordable housing to help this crisis in our community," Powell said.   

The foundation will do so by providing organizations with low interest and flexible loans that can be paid back within three to four years. 

Powell says the fund was established as a way to bridge a gap that exists at the early stage of projects. She explains that before construction can begin and companies can access traditional financing, organizations encounter the barrier of covering start-up costs, such as land acquisitions, planning and zoning expenses. 

"LCF is uniquely positioned to fill this niche," Powell said. 

The foundation especially hopes to house those in crisis who may be living in shelters or couch surfing.

Organizations such as Indwell, the Italian Seniors Project, Homes Unlimited and Youth Opportunities Unlimited have previously received assistance through the LCF's social impact fund to develop projects. 

now