Affordable housing proposal gets $10,000 grant

By Chris Abbott, Tillsonburg News

Marty Graf, Chief Executive Officer of Community Living Tillsonburg

Marty Graf, Chief Executive Officer of Community Living Tillsonburg

Tillsonburg Properties for Community Living Tillsonburg announced last Wednesday it received a $10,000 grant to develop an affordable housing proposal for the community of Tillsonburg.

The grant is from the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation.

“Tillsonburg Properties for Community Living is very pleased to receive the funding which will allow us to take the next step in working towards needed housing in Tillsonburg," said John Puhr, president, in a media release. "As we move forward we will reach out to other potential partners to help create this development.”

Tillsonburg Properties for CLT currently have a conditional offer on a property and are working with housing consultant Tim Welch Consulting Inc., to determine what kind of housing could be developed on the site.

"We will also be working with other agencies who are interested in affordable housing for the community," said Marty Graf, Chief Executive Officer of Community Living Tillsonburg. "We will be building on the work done in 2010 on Emergency Accommodation for Homelessness Persons in the Town of Tillsonburg. We want to create housing that will meet a real need in our community."

Tillsonburg Properties for Community Living Tillsonburg will be working with municipal, provincial and a federal authority to seek out available funding to support the project.

"We've been working over the past while to explore the possibility of working on the social housing issues in Tillsonburg," said Graf. "Tillsonburg Properties for Community Living, over the years, has been primarily focused on providing housing for people with intellectual disabilities.

"We were asked to consider expanding our mandate, and start looking at housing for the general population who require affordable housing. We've had some experience in housing over the years – Community Living Tillsonburg has been operating for close to 60 years now, and Tillsonburg Properties for Community Living was developed probably close to 30 years ago. Both of those corporations have a history of developing affordable housing... we've been doing that for close to 60 years. And we also have the experience being involved in the Livingston Centre, in the development of that through our joint venture corporation with the Multi-Service Centre. We do have a lot of experience working with different levels of government, both provincial and federal, to work on different grants.

"So we were asked to work on seeking out a grant. We've done that and we've got the approval."

Working with the consultant, they are seeking a suitable property and determining the need.

"Over the next while we'll be putting together a report with him, and working with other agencies in the community as well over the next several months to see what their needs and interests are. It's not something we're intending to do just by ourselves. We'll be working and seeking out other agencies that might have an interest in working on this kind of project."

Their goal is to seek out more grants from the Province and federal government social housing initiatives.

"The seed grant is the first step," said Graf, hoping the project could come to fruition in the next year-and-a-half to two years. "We're hoping the grants line up with both the provincial and federal governments in the very near future. It could take a while to ensure we find an appropriate location, and then seek out the appropriate grant.

"What we're hearing is that both levels of government are recognizing that there is a need for more social and affordable housing in communities like Tillsonburg."

Currently there are social housing operations in Tillsonburg, said Graf, some run by Oxford County and some by a Tillsonburg not-for profit organization.

"There are, in the town already, some affordable housing, but there is obviously a need for more."

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