On Wednesday, November 22, which is also National Housing Day, the community came together to celebrate the groundbreaking of our new affordable housing development in downtown St. Catharines.
This project has become a reality as a result of a unique partnership between FirstOntario Credit Union, Penn Terra Group Limited and Bethlehem Housing and Support Services, all committed to working together towards providing a solution to the need for affordable rental housing in Niagara.
Across Canada we are facing a housing crisis with an estimated 235,000 people experiencing homelessness - here in Niagara we have recorded over 5,500 on the housing waitlist for affordable housing.
Lori Beech, Bethlehem's Executive Director, says "We’re in a housing crisis and we need to inject an increase in affordable rental stock into the housing market. Creating housing solutions and motivating private sector developers and financing funder partners to step up to the plate is almost impossible. There are very few incentives for them to get involved."
Also at risk are low income, working individuals and families paying more than 30 to 50 percent of their income on housing, which is called a state of core housing need. A household in core housing need is one whose residence is considered unsuitable, inadequate or unaffordable, and whose income levels do not support alternative suitable and adequate housing within their community.
Beech continues, "This innovative partnership with FirstOntario and Penn Terra was established with pure will, perseverance and a tenacious commitment, which made the probability of almost impossible actually happen."
Bethlehem's Board of Directors President, John Lee, says "This development is about building homes for people in need, but ultimately it is about building a community that is safe, inclusive and offers economic opportunity for all. The truth is that this development is about hope, and not just for those that will find a home in this building. This development represents hope for all of us as a community, that our city and our region will be a place where everyone has a home."
Click here to learn more about our affordable housing development.
Click here to read the article by the St. Catharines Standard.
Click the images below to see photos from our groundbreaking ceremony.