LONDON, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 20, 2014) - The governments of Canada and Ontario celebrated the official opening of Gethsemane Gardens in London today. The construction of this new rental housing property has helped stimulate the economy and create 62 jobs in Ontario while helping meet the housing needs of low-income individuals in London.
Susan Truppe, Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women and Member of Parliament for London North Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development); Deb Matthews, Member of Provincial Parliament for London North Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; and Joe Fontana, Mayor for the City of London, made the announcement today.
"Gethsemane Gardens will ensure that persons with disabilities and families living on low-income in London have better access to affordable housing while also supporting the local economy and creating jobs," said Parliamentary Secretary Truppe. "We are taking concrete action to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity across Canada and right here in London."
"The Ontario government is committed to creating a fair and prosperous society where everyone has the opportunity to connect, contribute and enjoy a high quality of life," said Minister Matthews. "Projects like Gethsemane Gardens provide London residents with beautiful, safe and secure homes and created jobs in our community."
"Affordable housing is about much more than bricks and mortar; it's about people," said Mayor Fontana. "Having a place to call home is about dignity, security and independence. Londoners need affordable housing and Gethsemane Gardens is a fine example of the great outcomes that happen in our community when all three levels of government work together."
The $1.5 million investment provided by the federal and provincial governments has been used to create 25 new rental housing units located at Gethsemane Gardens, the former site of Gethsemane United Church. Each unit is designed with a living and dining area, a bedroom, a bathroom and a balcony, as well as two appliances. Space was also created for the United Church to continue their Food Cupboard program. The investment is complemented by $1.395 million in municipal funding from the City of London.
"The London Affordable Housing Foundation (LAHF) aims to produce safe, affordable housing for families and individuals in need; Gethsemane Gardens has accomplished this, and more," said Rev. Doug MacKenzie, Past Chair, LAHF. "We were pleased to have the support of the three levels of government and many of our faith communities. Gethsemane Gardens is the regeneration of a former Church site and the attractive new building will continue to serve a community need for many years."
This funding comes as a result of the $481 million Investment in Affordable Housing 2011-2014 Agreement between the governments of Canada and Ontario.
Annually, the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), invests approximately $2 billion in housing. Of this amount, $1.7 billion in federal funding is provided in support of close to 600,000 individuals and families living in existing social housing both on- and off-reserve. In Ontario, this represents an estimated 237,950 households. The remaining funding supports housing-related activities and affordable housing programs, including the Investment in Affordable Housing. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people. The commitment continues with Economic Action Plan 2013, which provides more than $1.25 billion over five years to renew the Investment in Affordable Housing. In the coming months, the Government will work with provinces and territories to confirm the implementation details of this investment. More than 146,769 households across Canada are no longer in housing need as a result of funding provided under the IAH from April 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013.
Ontario continues to build new affordable housing and repair existing units for Ontarians with housing needs. Since 2003, Ontario's funding commitment of nearly $3 billion is the largest affordable housing program in the province's history. Ontario is supporting the creation of over 17,000 affordable rental housing units, making more than 263,000 repairs and improvements to social and affordable housing units, and providing rental down payment assistance to over 81,000 households in need. The province's Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy sets a strong foundation for a more efficient, accessible affordable housing system in Ontario.
Affordable housing is a key component of Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy. To find out more about affordable housing in Ontario, visit www.ontario.ca/housing. For more information about affordable housing in London, visit www.london.ca/residents/Housing/.
To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca.