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Sky-high downtown tower will take bite out of affordable housing crisis
LONDON, ONT -- The federal government has announced $130 million in funding for a double-tower highrise project that should help put a dent in the city's affordable housing crisis.
“What this truly represents is hope and the prospect of a better life,” says London Mayor Ed Holder, who was on hand for Wednesday’s announcement.
The funding is for two residential buildings, comprising 420 units, at 495 Talbot Street and 110 Fullarton Street in the city’s downtown.
The funding comes in the form of a preferred interest loan to developer Old Oak Properties from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos says he would like to see more such public/private partnerships.
“It's a priority going forward to let the development community know more about the federal programs in place, specifically that national housing strategy that incents developers to act, to work with us in a partnership, so we can build more housing, specifically affordable housing."
The program is meant to target middle class families struggling in expensive housing markets.
In the development, 110 units, or 26 per cent, will have rents lower than 30 per cent of London's median household income.
The idea is that tenants won't have to use such a large portion of their income on rent.
The rental arrangement stays in place for 10 years, according to Ahmed Hussen, the minister responsible for CMHC.
“The point is to get these units into the market, and have a mixed housing approach.”
Anti-poverty activist Chuck Lazenby, who manages The Unity Project, a homeless shelter, says the funding is welcome.
She adds that it doesn't solve London’s affordable housing crisis, especially given the “lack of rent-controls” in Ontario.
“How can this be sustained over time so that we're actually creating a plan from all levels, not just investments in physical structures, but also in social policies that actually protect people and maintains their right to housing?”
Named Centro, the development will stand 40 storeys tall, or 129 metres. It will reportedly be the tallest building between Mississauga and Calgary.
Construction is already underway and Old Oak says the buildings will be open and move-in ready in early 2022.