Written by Jana Bawaba
April 6, 2020
For about two years now, Anna and I have been working with the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa (ADO) and Christ Church Bells Corners (CCBC) to redevelop part of the CCBC site in Bells Corners to include affordable housing.
The ADO and CCBC are working to create 35 mixed affordable housing units on the site of the former CCBC rectory in Bells Corners. The ground floor of the affordable housing development will include an integrated community service hub containing a community resource centre and a food bank.
The CCBC rectory redevelopment project is one of several affordable housing developments that the ADO has been working on with Cahdco. The ADO and its parishes have a long history of serving their communities, and the ADO has officially declared homelessness and affordable housing to be a priority for the Church. Since then, 42 homes have been built in partnership with Cornerstone Housing for Women, which completed construction in the Fall of 2018. As the host partner, CCBC has embraced the opportunity to welcome housing on its site and to take an active role in the management and engagement of community on the site.
The CCBC project will repurpose the site of the former rectory adjacent to the CCBC church to serve the needs of the Bells Corners community by providing 35 mixed affordable housing units to create a diverse community and to meet the needs of a variety of demographics, including families, seniors, and persons with disabilities, with a particular focus on supportive housing for women that have escaped violence.
The nature of the project and proponent organisations provided great potential for partnerships with mission-aligned organisations. The CCBC rectory redevelopment project is in partnership with Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre (WOCRC), FAMSAC Food Cupboard (FAMSAC), and Cornerstone Housing for Women (Cornerstone).
WOCRC and FAMSAC will have dedicated office and program space on the ground floor of the building. Purpose-built space with access to a commercial kitchen and food storage area will allow WOCRC and FAMSAC to expand their current level of service and create the potential for a neighbourhood food and community service hub.
Ten units will be allocated as supportive housing for women referred by partner organisations, WOCRC and Cornerstone. WOCRC will provide support services to the tenants of the ten supportive housing units, and Cornerstone will provide administrative and property management services for the building.
Overall the concept is greater than the sum of its parts. The affordable housing is intended to be part of a platform for building community with tenants and with the church. This synergistic relationship will bring great value to the site, its tenants, and the community.
We have been able to steadily progress this project over the past two years, led by the ADO’s and CCBC’s strong commitment to serving the community. Early in the project, we received a grant though the CMHC Seed Funding program to conduct a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the rectory on the CCBC site.
We initially applied for Action Ottawa capital funding in the Fall of 2018 and were ultimately unsuccessful, but received encouragement from the City to continue progressing the project further and apply again during the next Action Ottawa cycle.
In the meantime, we worked to get the site rezoned to accommodate the proposed uses, and delved into the details of how the building will be managed and run. With zoning approved, community support, and a strong business case, the CCBC project was awarded capital funding through the Action Ottawa program in the Fall of 2019.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the project team continues to progress project design and development. We are currently preparing to submit our Site Plan Control application to the City, and, following a number of steps, processes, and permits, we are planning to begin construction of the new affordable housing development in the Fall of 2020. This is a very exciting project that will have a positive impact on the site and the community, and one that will benefit from an already established, supportive community.
Like others, Cahdco staff are working remotely, and the planning to create more affordable housing projects continues. Reach out and let us know if you would like to create an affordable housing project.
Development Project Coordinator
April 6, 2020