Alex Miller, of Big Block Construction, presented on principles of how to solve affordable housing need by building homeownership units. He highlighted the need for strong team members, an effective process, and established partnerships.
Miller used a personal example that Big Block Construction was a part of in Saskatoon. In 2008, Saskatoon was in a housing crisis where 2,500 affordable homes were needed. The city identified the need and provided funding in partnership with CMHC by way of a mortgage flexibility support program. Non-profits then administered the program. Developers, such as Big Block Construction, were brought in to design and build the projects. More than 2,500 affordable homes were created from the initiative. Miller highlighted the importance that each stakeholder involved in the process focused on their area of expertise.
Similar to Cahdco’s own process, Miller explained that analysis is key to the project. You must first understand the need, demand, budget, equity sources, funding programs, financing, and the pro forma to answer the questions: “Is it bankable?” and “Does it pencil out?”. He cautions not to get hung up on a rendering or what it might look like in this early phase. You can only move on to design once the business plan has been proven.