LONDON, ONT. -- After decades of decline, thousands of public housing units in London and Middlesex County will soon receive upgrades through a massive federal investment.

A $40.1 million investment in the form of two loans, including $15.5 million that is forgivable, will spark a massive push to repair 2,082 units of rent-geared-to-income housing operated by London Middlesex Community Housing (LMCH).

“Every single one of these homes which will be repaired and regenerated with this fund, will be meant to house those with the most housing need,” explained Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development Ahmed Hussen during a virtual media briefing.

The units receiving upgrades accommodate vulnerable tenants, including seniors, people with disabilities, and the recently homeless.

One fifth of the units will meet accessibility needs.

“Supporting London’s most vulnerable speaks to who we are as a community,” said London Mayor Ed Holder, who last month committed to end functional homelessness in five years.

London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos explained that ending the housing crisis will require a community-wide effort.

“This is an issue that goes beyond politics. It must go beyond politics. We all need to work together.”

Upgrades to the units will improve energy efficiency and water conservation, ultimately lowering operating costs for the pubic housing provider.

“Historically, our buildings haven’t seen this level of investment since their original construction in the 1950s, 60s and 70s,” explained LMCH CEO Andrea MacKenzie.

“We know that having a quality place to call home makes all the difference in their ability to raise their family, plan for the future, and live in dignity,” said London West MP Kate Young.

The two loans, over a seven-year period, will come from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

London Middlesex Community Housing underwent a governance overhaul following the release of a scathing audit in 2019.

A year-and-a-half ago, auditors discovered that vacated units were sitting empty for months awaiting necessary repairs.

In Sept. 2019, city council disbanded the board of directors, appointing a temporary LMCH board made up of managers at City Hall.