Province commits $24.1M in funding in support of affordable housing
This past Wednesday I had the privilege, in my capacity as Chair of Ottawa Community Housing, to introduce Provincial Ministers and the Mayor to announce an increase in funding for an affordable housing project being built by Ottawa Community Housing (OCH). The commitment is for $24.1 million in funding, and it would be directed towards an OCH project in the east end of the city called Mikinak. Mikinak consists of three mid-size buildings that will be used for affordable housing. Directing this funding to this project means that the City of Ottawa commitment to this funding is no longer required and can be allocated to other supportive and long-term affordable housing projects for more vulnerable persons in need of housing.
This funding fills a gap that was left by the province with disproportionately low homelessness prevention funding that had been announced earlier. These new capital dollars are welcome however the next step is asking for more commitments from the province for ongoing supportive programs for those who are currently homeless and in need of support services. The requirement for affordable housing will continue in Ottawa as market rate housing becomes less and less affordable.
Here is the Press Release from Ottawa Community Housing website on this announcement of funding.
Ontario Investing in More Affordable Housing in Ottawa
Additional funding will continue to support vulnerable populations experiencing or at risk of homelessness
Ottawa, ON – May 24, 2023 – The Ontario government is investing an additional $24.1 million in affordable housing in Ottawa to create up to 138 affordable and supportive housing units.
The project, known as Mikinak, is a joint initiative between the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Community Housing Corporation (OCHC) that, once completed, will contain a total of 271 units across three buildings. The project will provide supports for seniors, families, Indigenous households and persons with developmental disabilities. More than 20 per cent of the units across the project will be accessible.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates our government’s commitment to tackling homelessness and ending the housing supply crisis in Ontario,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Our government’s support for the Mikinak project builds on the historic investments we have made in homelessness prevention and reinforces our constructive partnership with the City of Ottawa. This announcement also reflects the unique challenges and pressures facing Ottawa when it comes to tackling homelessness, as a service provider for people coming to the city from across Eastern and Northern Ontario.”
Located at 715 Mikinak Road, the project is being built on the former Canadian Forces Base Rockcliffe lot. The mid-rise buildings will include housing for people on the city’s social housing waitlist, which includes people residing in the emergency shelter system and offsite facilities such as hotels and motels.
“Every person, regardless of their circumstances, deserves a roof over their heads and a safe place to call home,” said Mark Sutcliffe, Mayor of Ottawa. “That’s why this announcement is very important for the City of Ottawa. It comes at a critical time and it demonstrates that the City and the Province of Ontario can work together towards our common goal of ending chronic homelessness by building more affordable housing and supportive housing. This announcement is an important step in our ongoing discussion about fair and appropriate funding for housing and homelessness prevention and it helps Ottawa build more affordable and supportive units in the next year. I want to personally thank Premier Doug Ford and Minister Steve Clark for this welcome announcement. This comes after a lot of very healthy and productive dialogue and collaboration.”
OCHC is the largest provider of social housing in Ottawa and is Ontario’s second-largest housing provider. Supported by the City of Ottawa, OCHC manages a portfolio of approximately 15,000 affordable and community housing units for more than 32,000 people across Ottawa.
Ottawa Community Housing Corporation provides approximately 15,000 homes to about 32,000 tenants, including seniors, parents, children, couples, singles and persons with disabilities, within many communities across the City of Ottawa. OCHC houses a diverse population of varying languages, ethnicities and cultures. OCHC is the largest social, community and affordable housing provider in Ottawa and an industry-leading builder of affordable housing. In 2021, OCHC was selected as one of the National Capital Region’s Top Employers, a fourth year in a row.