December 19, 2018 3:08 pm
Updated: December 19, 2018 3:23 pm

Ottawa providing $4.9 million for downtown London affordable housing project

356 Dundas Street in November 2018.

Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL
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A six-storey affordable housing project in London’s downtown core is receiving a multi-million-dollar funding boost from the federal government.

London North Centre Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos was on hand Wednesday for the announcement, alongside London Mayor Ed Holder and developer Yossi Lavie.

Ottawa says it’s investing more than $4.9 million to the nearly-complete construction of the 69-unit building at 356 Dundas St through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s rental construction financing initiative.

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The initiative aims to support a stable supply of affordable rental housing in Canada for low and middle-class families, CMHC says.

All 69 units will be affordable, with rents to be at-or-lower than 30 per cent of the area’s median household income. In addition, CMHC says at least 12 of the units will be accessible.

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Speaking on 980 CFPL’s London Live with Mike Stubbs, Judy Binder, an affordable housing specialist with CMHC, said the funding gives the developer satisfaction knowing it will have a stable, 10-year, below-market-rate mortgage.

“It also means that because they’re saving on the financing cost, that can be passed along to the end user, which is the tenant,” she said, noting several partners came to the table to help the development proceed, including the city, the Housing Development Corporation, and the London Community Foundation.

Binder said affordability was a top issue in nearly every community she has visited, alongside education and health care.

“Any announcement that will include more options for low-income families to access housing is a eureka. Is there still a long way to go? Absolutely, yes there is,” she said.

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“Affordable housing is the framework of stability in one’s life, and yes, you need to have your health, and yes you need to have employment, but you also need a place to come home to at the end of the day.”

Construction is nearing completion with a planned opening for the spring.

It’s London’s first six-storey wood-frame building following changes to the building code in 2015 that paved the way for taller wood-frame structures.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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