Five new affordable homes coming to Ford City with land donation, pending approval

Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex may be able to build five affordable homes in Ford City with its latest land donation — if everything goes smoothly with the city.

Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex received the $100,000 land donation on St. Luke Road

Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex's executive director says they signed the paperwork for the land donation this week. (Arms Bumanlag/CBC)

Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex is looking to build five affordable homes in Ford City — pending city approval — thanks to a land donation worth $100,000.

Executive director of the organization, Fiona Coughlin, told CBC News on Friday they received the donation on St. Luke Road land this week. The non-profit plans to break ground Sept. 22 to coincide with the Dropped on Drouillard festival.

The Ford City neighbourhood is "growing and ready to transform," said Coughlin, and she hopes the new builds can help with the revitalization of the community.

"We see it becoming another Olde Walkerville," she said. Some small businesses have already been setting shop and she thinks it's a testament to how much the community cares and believes in its potential.

The first build will be for a family with a daughter with severe disabilities. However, before the organization can start, zoning changes have to be approved by the city.

The land is zoned for six small houses and Habitat for Humanity is hoping to get permission to fit an accessible home and a couple of duplexes instead.

The organization will be breaking ground for a new ReStore next year. The current one is on Devon Drive and there is also one in Leamington. (Arms Bumanlag/CBC)

ReStore opening in 2019

Habitat for Humanity is also breaking ground on "one of the largest ReStores" in Canada — a shop that sells new and used materials to support the organization in its quest to build affordable homes.

The ReStore will be in the area where Edinborough Street turns into Ouellette Avenue, behind the Tepperman's store.

"This new ReStore is all about building capacity," said Coughlin. "And we know that there's a looming affordable housing crisis in Windsor."​

Cost of housing in Windsor rising

She said the waiting list for subsidized housing doubled last year — to five years.

And because of rising rents and home values, people are having a harder time moving out of subsidized housing and into the standard housing market, Coughlin said.

However, Coughlin is optimistic that it's not too late for Windsor.

"We have 20/20 vision to what could be our future," she said, pointing to other municipalities in the country that have seen drastic increases in rent and the housing market.

Organizations need to work together to build more housing for people — and it doesn't have to all come from Habitat for Humanity.

"If we work together, we can increase the entire inventory," she said. "If we work together, we can revitalize neighbourhoods."

With files from Arms Bumanlag