May 30, 2019 8:53 am

Former Kingston catholic school property converted to affordable housing

WATCH: Apartment building a start in addressing Kingston's low vacancy rate.

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The site at 645 Brock street was once a catholic school in central Kingston, but the property has found new life as a mixed affordable housing apartment building.

The 29-unit building has 10 geared to income units, another 10 units available at 80 per cent of the market rate and the remaining nine are market rental units.

Today, the city and the non-profit Kingston Frontenac Housing Corporation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally open the building, although residents have been taking occupancy in the building since the new year.

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Kingston’s vacancy rate has been pegged at 0.6 per cent by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation — the lowest vacancy rate in Ontario and one the lowest in the country.

The new Brock street apartments are been a dream come true for resident April Yeo, who’s on a fixed income. Without affordable housing, she says she couldn’t afford to move from the apartment she was in.

Yeo says she spent a year looking before she qualified for her new apartment, and that her old neighbourhood wasn’t a great area to live.

“The last place I was at wasn’t safe,” Yeo said, “and I couldn’t have my grandchildren there and I’ve already got to have two of my grandchildren come and stay.”

Mayor Bryan Paterson has struck a task force to address Kingston’s housing crisis and says this building is an example of a job done right.

READ MORE: Federal Government’s National Housing Strategy could help Kingston housing problems

“I can see this creating momentum to be able to build more housing, to increase the supply of affordable housing in particular,” Paterson said.

The mayor says the goal is to increase Kingston’s stock of rental units by several thousand by the end of this term.

The mayor’s task force is expected to report back to council by the year’s end with a strategy to accomplish that goal.

WATCH: (May 8, 2019) Kingston City Council sets strategic priorities for the next four years

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