MHI Veterans’ House Welcomes Tenants Home

Written by Hadiya Al-Idrissi

April 26, 2021

Last week CMHC held a virtual event and walkthrough of the newest Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI) project. Veterans’ House: The Andy Carswell Building opened for occupancy in early February 2021, after 8 long years since its initial conception, which included funding hurdles, and construction through these unprecedented times. With the success of this project we thought it would be a good moment to pause and highlight the design concept and Cahdco’s role (among the other project team members and stakeholders) in bringing this project to fruition.

Construction complete, January 2021 (left)

Front Rendering, CSV Architects (right)


Veterans’ House is a three-storey, 40-unit supportive housing development for homeless Veterans, on the former CFB Rockcliffe Airbase here in Ottawa. In response to the growing recognition of homelessness among Veterans of the Canadian Forces, this project includes innovative design features developed in consultation with homeless veterans’ peer mentoring groups, PTSD experts, mental health experts, and a number of military organizations, to address the specific needs of this clientele.

All 40 units are self-contained bachelor suites, with their own kitchen and bathroom. All eight units on the ground floor are fully barrier-free, with the site and balance of the building designed to meet Universal Accessibility standards. The building features one central elevator, and an inviting main stairwell with natural lighting to encourage active living. The ground level of the building includes a variety of communal amenity and support service spaces, including a multi-purpose “mess hall”, a learning kitchen, a fitness room and quiet room.

Construction complete, January 2021 (left)

Courtyard Rendering, CSV Architects (right)

The project also includes a comprehensive landscape design that incorporates an outdoor BBQ patio area adjacent the multi-purpose space, a healing garden designed with PTSD sensitivities in mind, a dog run area for support service dogs, and an edible garden to encourage community building among tenants. These landscaping works are to be completed in summer 2021.

MHI raised $3.5M for this $15.6M project through fundraising. It was made public through this event that the provincial government would contribute an additional $1.5M to the project through COCHI funding, administered through City of Ottawa. The balance of project costs have been covered through the CMHC Co-Investment Fund financing and grant, waived City fees and charges, and other smaller grants.

The Project Team:

This is what a typical Development Project Team looks like. The diagram demonstrates the contractual relationship between all the consultants and the client. There are four key members of the project team:

  • MHI: Housing Provider/Owner/Operator of the site
  • Cahdco: Project Management/Client Representative
  • CSV Architects: Architect/Prime Consultant
  • McDonald Brothers Construction: Construction Manager

Other stakeholder that provided the land and the money were:

  • Canada Lands Company
  • The City of Ottawa
  • CMHC

The Cahdco Team:

The Cahdco team that primarily worked on this project were Cynthia (Project Manager) and Hadiya (Project Coordinator). Through these collaborative roles the team managed to take on both the bigger picture and daily tasks involved in getting this project off the ground. A summary of some common tasks is outlined below:

For more information on the opening of the project please check out the video below:


Governments of Canada and Ontario Providing Housing for Veterans in Ottawa Friday April 16, 2021

Hadiya Al-Idrissi

Development Project Coordinator

April 26, 2021