Don’t just wait around for a developer to show up! Local neighbourhoods and faith communities can be proactive in creating affordable or supportive housing options
Seek out neighbours with skills, resources, and passions to look into building something yourselves to address the needs you see. You and your neighbours could create a community development corporation with the legal power to build something new. Consider partnering with non-profit organizations and other housing providers (with the skill and know-how to do this effectively) to build something locally.
Housing Cooperatives have created some wonderful spaces and housing opportunities over the years. To explore some of those stories, try contacting a local housing co-op. Here’s a link to an Edmonton directory: http://www.nacha.ca/CoopListing/tabid/56/Default.aspx
Faith Communities have also taken the lead on building new housing options for people who need it. Below are a few stories:
Garneau United Church/ Ashbourne Manor (Garneau Neighbourhood), Edmonton. A local congregation located on a prime real estate location decided to demolish their church building and partner to construct a high-rise providing long term care accommodations with a congregational worship space on the first floor.
St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Winnipeg. St. Matthew’s was a small inner city congregation in a large church building with seating for over a 1000 people. The congregation joined with government and non-profit community partners to convert their church building into a multi-use facility including 25 much needed rental apartments. St. Matthew’s continues to have a worship space in the shared facility. www.st-matthews.ca and thewestendcommons.ca
CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)
The CMHC website provides examples of local faith congregations partnering through donations of land and funds to assist in the construction of new affordable housing units:
- Ottawa Multifaith Housing Initiative www.multifaithhousing.ca
- Somerset Gardens, Ottawa – St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/inpr/afhoce/afhoce/ prpr/upload/Somerset-Gardens-EN.pdf
- Eastern Gate Manor, St. John’s NL – St. John’s First Assembly Pentecostal Church www.cmhc.ca/en/inpr/afhoce/sust/ sust_041.cfm
- Langford Affordable Housing Project http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/inpr/afhoce/ afhoce/vi/vi_022.cfm
- Canada/New Brunswick Affordable Housing Projects http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/ departments/social_development/housing/af- fordable_housing_projects.html
Churches can purchase additional land for housing development when developing new church sites. Housing can be an option when surplus church buildings in older neighbourhoods no longer serve as congregational worship space.