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London Community Foundation tackling lack of housing with $20-million investment

Downtown London, Ont.
Downtown London, Ont. Getty Images/File

The London Community Foundation (LCF) is committing up to $20 million to addressing London’s affordable housing crisis.

The funds will be used to create a dedicated affordable housing fund of $17 million to $20 million to support the creation of more affordable housing options in the city.

“Adequate, safe and affordable housing should not be out of reach,” said LCF president and CEO Martha Powell.

“The shortage of affordable housing in our community is at a crisis point.”

London currently has a housing shortage of 3,000 units and more than 2,400 individuals and families accessing emergency shelters each year.

The fund is designed to offer flexible financing for community organizations interested in creating affordable housing.

READ MORE: London is rethinking how it addresses homelessness and housing instability

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According to the LCF, a major barrier to entering the affordable housing market is the high startup costs.

LCF is proposing low-interest, early-stage, flexible financing to help groups with initial startup costs like fund assessments, land acquisition, and planning and zoning expenses needed before the first phase of a project can be completed.

This idea builds upon the concept of LCF’s $10-million Social Impact Fund, which has helped to create 341 units of affordable housing.

In addition to the $20-million fund, the foundation announced the establishment of a Housing Action Committee, which will identify organizations that have an interest and capacity to help create affordable housing but who need more information and financial assistance to develop their plans.

“We hope to help those already providing housing solutions and those who may be able to help,” said committee chair John Nicholas.