A local business in east London, Ont., made its largest charitable donation ever on Friday as it gave $175,000 to support affordable housing projects in the city.
London Direct Liquidation (LDL), which sells appliances and furniture from its home at 1155 Dundas St., is giving the money to Indwell.
The Christian charity works to create affordable housing communities that support people struggling with mental health and other barriers to stable housing. Rooms at supportive housing programs can be rented for $500 per month, to match ODSP rates. These programs are intended to serve those leaving homelessness or precarious housing.
Indwell is also attached to the upcoming Vision SoHo Alliance, a group of six non-profit housing developers who’ve joined forces to build an affordable housing development on the old Victoria Hospital lands. Indwell’s share of the task will see it open two new sites on the property to provide 138 “deeply affordable” homes.
Across Ontario, Indwell supports folks through more than 1,000 apartments in cities like St. Thomas, Hamilton, Woodstock and Mississauga.
London Direct Liquidation owner Jason Byrne says he’s experienced his own challenges with mental health and addiction in his family and friends.
He was motivated to make the donation when he learned about Indwell’s ongoing work in the city, as well as its plans for the near future.
“This is the first time I’ve made a gift of this size. … I want to keep doing it,” Byrne said.
“I see the difference Indwell’s supportive housing is making. … It’s not just the building projects, but these are homes that are well maintained for the long-term benefit of tenants who are rebuilding their lives.”
Graham Cubitt, Indwell’s director of projects and development, said it’s rare to receive such a large donation from a local business, which is why he considers the gift to be a tremendous boost in confidence for the charity.
“We’re so honoured that he chose to be a part of supporting Indwell,” Cubitt said.
Cubitt says the donation is a “catalyst” to enable Indwell to continue the work it’s doing. Byrne told Indwell to use the money where it’s most needed, and Cubitt says that’s still being worked out.
“We’re going to figure out how to use the money exactly over the next few weeks and months, but really it’s a huge catalyst to our ability to come alongside the community in London,” Cubitt added.
As Indwell awaits the opening of its two sites on the old Victoria Hospital lands, with those sites expected to open in 2024 and 2025, Cubitt said things are going well for the projects that are already up and running.
“Embassy Commons’ first tenants moved in at the beginning of November and the building’s basically full. It’s already starting to form a strong sense of community, … and we’ve had positive feedback from local neighbours, we’ve had positive feedback from the London Police Service,” Cubitt said.
“Many who are involved in the lives of our tenants really are already seeing the positive benefits of stable, supportive housing.”