Affordable Housing Newsletter October 2023

Housing Committee Developments

After soliciting proposals from architecture firms in London, four firms were interviewed with their proposals. The final choice was Cornerstone Architecture, which has an office at 700 Richmond Street. Their principal architect is Alison Hannay. Cornerstone has substantial experience in non-profit housing, and they did impressive work on the Sisters of St. Joseph residence on Windermere Road.

Cornerstone Architecture is working with Zelinka Priamo Urban Planners and Devonshire Consulting in preparing the site plan and design for the project. Meetings have been held with the housing committee, and a basic approach tentatively agreed upon.

Design and Building Developments
The building will have six floors with 60 units, 73% one-bedroom and 27% two-bedroom, with 16 of those units accessible. The building will front on the west side, with the south side facing Huron Street. There will be 32 rear parking spaces. The main floor will have a community room for tenant usage, office space and a common room for tenants to visit with family and friends, including a kitchenette and washroom. There will be green space on the northeast side of the building. Plans for a thrift store on the main floor had to be abandoned due to zoning obstacles.

It was decided that there will be no outer balconies, which are more costly and harder to maintain, but instead fully enclosed Juliet balconies will be used. There will be one laundry room located on the second floor, and disposal and bicycle storage on the main floor, with access on the north side. The parking lot will not have access to the St. Andrew the Apostle Parish parking lot. Washrooms in all units will be accessible.

Architectural plans are to be finalized in the next few weeks, with final approval needed from the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul London Particular Council, who will be the registered owner of the property. A late idea has been received from meetings with senior city officials that more units would be attractive to the city. This idea is being explored with the approach being a wider and not taller building to get additional units, with tentatively 12 extra units being added on the east side.

New Federal Funding and City of London Liaison
The federal government has announced major funding for London affordable housing projects, and we have contacted the city as to how to access those funds. The city has suggested, and it has been tentatively agreed, that the project enter into a tenant agreement with the city. This would involve taking a percentage of le housing. Our project would still have the final say, through the property manager, of who our tenants will be.
Fundraising Committee Developments
New members are always being sought to assist the fundraising committee. Theresa O'Leary, SSVP volunteer, and Sara Steers, retired professional fundraiser, have joined the Fundraising Committee.

Financial and Fundraising information
The project budget at a total cost of $19,000,000, and fundraising target of $5,000,000 over five years, remain unchanged. These will be under review as the project goes to the city for approval.

Progress to Date
As of September 30th, $353,000 in donations, grants and pledges has been received from private individuals, foundations and organizations. recent new donors include the Richard and Shelley Baker Family Foundation, Sisters of St. Joseph, Ursuline Sisters, St. George Knights of Columbus and St. George CWL. Applications continue to be made to other major foundations. Brochures have been printed for distribution. A plan has been established and is being carried out to approach SSVP conferences, CWL and Knights of Columbus groups in London for individual and group donations.

Our Campaign Launch
The Official Public launch for the campaign is Thursday, October 26 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Goodwill Industries Town Hall Room, 3rd Floor, 255 Horton Street, London. Invitations have been sent. Shelley Baker and Mary Michniewicz, Honorary Co-Chairs, will be hosting and sharing informaion about the project. Fr. Jim Mockler and our architect from Cornerstone will also be presenting.

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