London’s city council has approved $11.2 million to support the Vision SoHo Alliance, a first-of-its-kind partnership between Indwell and five other local non-profit organizations which are working together to create the single largest affordable housing development in London’s history.
On Tuesday, city council demonstrated its support for the Vision SoHo Alliance’s plans to build 650 units, 400 of which will be affordable on the former Victoria Hospital lands. Indwell will retrofit the two remaining hospital buildings on the site: the Health Services Building and the War Memorial Children’s Hospital, creating 125 units of deeply affordable housing. The units will vary in affordability ranging from full market to 80% of market rate to deeply affordable based on the Ontario Disability Support Program shelter rates. The $11.2 million investment from council will help support the $213 million total cost of the project.
With nearly 6,000 individuals and families currently on the waitlist for social housing, low vacancy rates and rising rental prices, there is an urgent need for more affordable housing in London. The Vision SoHo Alliance will work alongside the City of London, helping expedite progress toward Mayor Ed Holder’s goal to build 3,000-units within five years.
“I applaud the Vision SoHo Alliance for their leadership in helping to address the critical need for more affordable housing in our community,” says Mayor Ed Holder. “By working together with the city, this innovative partnership will help reach our ambitious 3,000-unit goal with beautifully designed units that honour the history and heritage of the former Victoria Hospital Lands site.”
“We’re so pleased to partner together with the City of London to help meet the demand for affordable housing,” says Sylvia Harris, Project Manager at Indwell and Chair of the Vision SoHo Alliance. “By working together, we can act quickly to deliver the affordable housing units, increasing the availability of housing for those who need it most.”
The goal of Vision SoHo is to help address the shortage of affordable housing in the city with mixed-income, environmentally friendly, well-managed, attractive units that will enhance the vibrancy of the SoHo neighbourhood, while celebrating the rich history of the Old Victoria Hospital lands. This mixed-income model is a hallmark of the project and is essential to achieving this level of affordability. With a variety of unit types, Vision SoHo will create a safe and accessible community, and foster a sense of belonging among residents.
Convened by the London Community Foundation, the Vision SoHo Alliance is composed of six local non-profit housing developers including Indwell, The Chelsea Green Home Society, Homes Unlimited, Italian Seniors’ Project, London Affordable Housing Foundation and Zerin Development Corporation. Each one of the developers have a proven track record of successful award-winning developments and a combined portfolio of 35 projects and over 2,200 apartments and townhomes.
“This is a one-of-a-kind partnership and what we believe to be the first of its kind in Canada,” says Greg Playford, member of London Community Foundation’s Housing Action Committee. “Led by local Londoners, volunteers and charities, this project is developed for the community, by the community. We look forward to continuing to work with the city to bring this innovative, new development to life.”