May 16, 2017 7:57 am

LMHC says $223M needed to maintain public housing in London

A London and Middlesex Housing Corporation apartment building at 241 Simcoe St. in London, Ont.

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Officials with the London and Middlesex Housing Corporation (LMHC) raised the alarm at city hall Monday, advising councillors significant investments need to be made to maintain public housing conditions.

The corporation recently finished a strategic plan that looks at its future and the cost to keep its units in good shape. They addressed the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee, saying a plan is needed to address the short- and long-term challenge of escalation maintenance, repairs and capital replacement.

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LMHC CEO Josh Browne told councillors they need $223.8 million over five years to maintain current conditions.

“The underlying reason for the significant increase is that LMHC owns a large percentage of buildings that were constructed around the same time and therefore are all aging at similar rates,” said Browne.

The majority of the funding is needed to replace building systems, such as HVAC units, that have reached or exceeded their useful service life. Without replacement, maintenance fees are expected to rise significantly.

“Simply stated, without significant investment, LMHC will not keep pace with our aging infrastructure and the conditions of our buildings will continue to deteriorate to unlivable conditions,” said Browne.

The average age of LMHC assets is 46 years. The corporation owns 3,200 units in 154 buildings at 25 locations across London.

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In order to maintain current conditions for the next 20 years, the LMHC says they will require an annual increase in capital funding of $21.2 million above the $2.2 million already allocated. If funding is not increased, building conditions will become deficient.

The LMHC provides subsidized public housing for London and the surrounding area, including Strathroy, Dorchester, Newbury, Parkhill, and Glencoe. They are the largest provider of rent-geared-to-income housing in the area.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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