How to make your own affordable housing in Ottawa
- by admin
A few years ago, a group of Ottawa families were living in a converted Victorian house in a low-income neighbourhood.
It was one of the first times that people living on social assistance or living with disabilities could afford a home, the group said in a recent submission to the city.
Now, after a decade of construction, that house sits vacant, empty and on the market for $2.9 million.
“We’re hoping that this property can be used as an affordable housing project,” said Valerie Vazquez, who helped organize the group and is now an executive director at the city’s housing and social services agency.
“That will give a lot of people a chance to get on the housing ladder.”
In a bid to get to this point, the city is looking at options that would help the city retain a high number of people living in low- and moderate-income households.
One of those options is a three-bedroom, one-bathroom detached house in the neighbourhood, which could be sold at a price of $2,800, said Vazowski.
The house would be built by the Ottawa-based Ritz-Carlton developer in collaboration with the City of Ottawa, and would feature an attached garage and a patio area, a garden and a small kitchen, among other amenities.
Ritz, which is based in Montreal, is seeking to build more than 200 new affordable housing units in the Greater Ottawa area.
The project would be financed by a private donor, but will also rely on federal housing subsidies.
In addition to Ritz building the affordable housing, the project will also involve purchasing the property, according to a release.
The city is also looking at a proposal by Ritz to convert the existing Victorian house into an apartment building, the release said.
The developer, which has also applied for a permit to build new affordable units, is expected to submit a project application by the end of this year, said Chris Dube, the company’s general manager of construction and design.
The new building would include a two-storey townhouse, a two and a half-storeys condo building and three apartment buildings.
For now, the new house will be on the city site.
It will not be the first time the city has used the old house for affordable housing.
The old house, built in 1960, is being restored and is scheduled to be sold next year.
The property is on private land in the area and is not currently being developed.
“It is an historic site, and we are interested in preserving it for the future,” Dube said.
“In fact, it’s being considered for a new project.”
A number of affordable housing developments are planned or under construction in Ottawa.
Ottawa-Carleton is the first city in Canada to have a comprehensive affordable housing plan, according a city staff report released in September.
A project will cost $12 million, with another $3 million to be contributed by private donors.
The plan will be put into place over the next few years and aims to help the low- to moderate- income earners with their financial needs.
Dube confirmed that Ottawa-Ottawa is currently in discussions with a developer for a five-storeyr affordable housing complex in the city, but would not say which company.
The affordable housing would be located in an area of the city known as the Trinity Village, which includes an area where the current house sits.
The existing house was built in the late 1970s, and the area is currently under development.
“This is the perfect opportunity for Ottawa to create new affordable homes in this area,” said Dube.
“The area is in desperate need of affordable, low-rise housing.”
The Trinity Village is an area that includes some of the worst-affected neighbourhoods in Ottawa, where poverty rates have soared over the last decade.
It includes some areas of the downtown core and the Rideau-Guildwood area.
In 2015, there were nearly 4,000 fewer people living below the poverty line in Ottawa-Gatineau than the year before, according the province’s latest census data.
“As we look at the housing market, we have to understand that the affordability challenge for people living low-wage jobs is really a structural issue,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.
“There’s a number of factors that contribute to this problem.”
The city’s affordable housing strategy is based on a number the city says is the “best” approach to meeting its goal of housing all low-cost workers by 2020.
The strategy calls for affordable homes for low-skilled workers, seniors, and people living with mental health conditions.
That strategy also focuses on providing “community-based supportive services” to help people get into the housing system.
The Ottawa-Cardinal district has about 12,000 people in its area of more than 2,000 housing units.
The Trinity Villages is the most affordable of the affordable homes planned for Ottawa.
A group of seniors
A few years ago, a group of Ottawa families were living in a converted Victorian house in a low-income neighbourhood.It…