OTTAWA, Ontario, November 6, 2006 — Lynne Yelich, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, today announced the 16 winners in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) Housing Awards Program, which recognizes housing initiatives that have contributed to improving the affordability of housing.
“The Housing Awards both acknowledge significant accomplishments in housing, and encourage the sharing of best practices to foster affordable, quality housing in Canada,” said Ms.Yelich. “It is important to honour the achievements of those people whose commitment to housing innovation helps set the standard for improving affordable housing in this country.”
This year’s Housing Awards, under the theme, “Best Practices in Affordable Housing”, is the ninth since the program's inception in 1988. The competition was open to both groups and individuals in the public and private sectors. The 16 winners were chosen by an independent multi-disciplinary selection committee comprised of housing experts from across Canada. An Awards Dinner was held today in Ottawa to honour the winners. CMHC will explore ways to transfer information about the winning initiatives to other communities across Canada.
The CMHC Housing Awards have successfully promoted innovations in: seniors’ housing (1988); housing for young families (1990); housing for persons with disabilities (1992); housing for Aboriginal people (1994); housing for youth (1997); housing challenges of the new millennium (2000); and affordable housing (2002 & 2004).
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada’s national housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant, healthy communities and cities a reality across the country. For more information call 1-800- 668-2642.
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Profiles of awards winners and a backgrounder on the Housing Awards are attached.
The first phase of the redevelopment of Benny Farm — a mix of affordable and subsidized housing including both rental and homeownership units, located in new and renovated buildings on Cavendish Boulevard — is nearing completion. These are significant initiatives in innovative affordable housing — renovation of existing structures, non-profit development and operation, community involvement, functional and efficient unit planning, as well as energy efficiency and sustainable development.
This is a 22 unit urban Aboriginal non-profit apartment building providing affordable, culturally sensitive housing with support services such as daycare, lodge coordinator and transportation. Seven of the units are a dedicated Aboriginal Patients’ Lodge assisting women, children, and their families travelling to Vancouver from rural and remote Aboriginal communities for health care services. This unique project is the direct result of an identified need and an interest to respond to that need by Lu’ma Native Housing Society, the First Nations Chiefs’ Health Committee, the British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Health Canada.
In this initiative people who have serious and recurring mental illnesses have designed and implemented support networks to regain and maintain health for others and themselves in the community. These individuals access and promote affordable and stable housing. They become active citizens in the community through their involvement in outreach and advocacy.
Housing a family of three to five children often results in prohibitive costs. Members of this non-profit corporation have acquired houses and developed a rental policy whereby the more children of school age a family has, the lower the rent. Tenants also enjoy the benefit of home ownership, since a portion of their rent can be used as a down payment with a financial institution upon purchase. To encourage people to purchase houses, the amount provided as a down payment is higher during the first few years.
The Déné Empowerment Centre provides transitional housing for high risk single parent households, along with supportive services in the adjoining facilities, which empowers residents to gain self-reliance, independence, social inclusion and well being and, ultimately, to relocate to non-supportive housing. This integrated facility involved the renovation of the existing Hospital building, as well as new construction of the adjoining support facilities. The resulting project, which is financially self-sustaining, consists of seven apartments, a classroom, a meeting room, two offices and a daycare centre/multi-purpose area for use by the tenants and the community.
Fort York Residence is the first of its kind in Toronto. Built in conjunction with a child care facility, this innovative project provides 74 dormitory style shelter beds and 24 transitional housing units for homeless men. Breaking the mold of transitional shelter design in Toronto, Fort York Residence was developed using a unique service model and in response to a need to provide shelter, affordable transitional housing, life skills and employment support under one roof. Recognizing that finding employment is a key route out of homelessness, Fort York Residence provides the tools and support for clients to rebuild their lives.
The Lennox Island Sustainable Home introduces practical, affordable and sustainable housing to the First Nations community. It incorporates many features to save energy while providing a clean and healthy environment to the occupants. The home is estimated to consume less than 50 per cent of the purchased energy required by a conventional home for space heating, water heating, appliances and lighting. The project incorporates energy efficiency measures and the requirements of the R-2000 and EnerGuide for New Houses services, and CMHC’s Healthy HousingTM principles.
This project is a redevelopment and restoration of 27 City of Vancouver-owned houses in the heart of Vancouver's West End which provides units of non-market housing for low-income singles, families, seniors and long-time residents of the block. The project protected and restored the home's interior and exterior heritage features and incorporated green building techniques and energy efficient features. In addition, one new building was constructed, three daycares, community gardens and greenways, as well as the Dr. Peter Centre for persons with HIV/AIDS.
The Nunavut Housing Corporation (NHC) initiated this project to address the housing shortage and other unique housing problems faced in the north. Efforts were aimed at providing affordable and energy efficient public housing units that could be built across the entire territory. Extraordinary building conditions and extremely high cost of construction drove the NHC to design a public housing complex which would not only satisfy occupant comfort by integrating traditional Inuit household amenities, but with innovative design, material selection and building science applications, would allow for an affordable and widely accepted best practice for the Territory.
In 2005/2006, St. Clare's intensified their supportive housing project at 25 Leonard Street in Toronto by adding a fifth and sixth floor, with 26 self-contained 212 square foot bachelor apartments. The new units were pre-manufactured housing modules organized around an exterior landscaped courtyard located on the roof of the existing building. St. Clare's internal subsidy program allows 80% of the tenants to pay a rent equal to the shelter component of welfare. St. Clare's intensification of 25 Leonard Street shows that using manufactured housing is elegant, simple and a cost-effective way to intensify existing social housing.
The two projects of the co-operative and the non-profit organization (NPO) were built on a former residual lot owned by the City of Montréal in the Parc-Extension neighbourhood. The projects contribute to the revitalization of the neighbourhood by offering 60 new affordable housing units (30 units per project) to large families, along a new section of Durocher Street. These projects result from a struggle of over 15 years by community groups in the neighbourhood. The projects were designed and developed in compliance with the standards of the Agence de l’efficacité énergétique, with a Novoclimat accreditation.
Wigwamen Incorporated provides affordable housing primarily to help meet urban Aboriginal housing needs. Working in partnership with the City of Toronto under its "Let’s Build" Program, they recently developed an innovative affordable rental apartment building at 20 Sewells Rd. in Toronto. This project, which was completed and occupied in the summer of 2005, provides rent-geared-to-income accommodation for 92 low and moderate income single and families. One third of the units provide transitional housing, while the other units provide permanent affordable housing. Half the units are mandated specifically for Aboriginal persons.
From 2002 to 2005, the City of Montréal coordinated an fine example of housing partnership involving government, municipal, community and institutional stakeholders to produce 611 affordable housing units for homeless people. Rather than increasing the number of shelter beds, Montréal opted for the development of housing with community support services, a sustainable solution that promotes the social re-integration of these people. Concrete results were observed starting in the winter of 2004 when, unlike previous years, no emergency shelters for homeless people had to be opened up.
Wakamow Place provides 16 units (four bachelor suites and twelve one-bedroom suites) of safe, supported, affordable housing for adults who experience long term severe mental illness. Adjacent to the apartment units is a Mental Health Resource Centre that offers prevocational, social and recreation opportunities for the tenant group and others who experience long term mental illness. This facility is the result of extensive community, provincial and federal partnerships which collaborated to ensure workable and sufficient funding, services and sustainability.
HOMEWARD BOUND is a ground-breaking project that allows women and children to make a permanent transition out of the shelter system and into a life of economic self-sufficiency. The program exemplifies the power of a holistic and integrated support system by offering intensive career and life-skills training with a focus on computer literacy and business education; housing; childcare, counseling and community integration — all under one roof. The final phase of the program guarantees a job placement within one of HOMEWARD BOUND’s Industry Council partners and through WoodGreen’s home ownership program, the chance to buy a permanent home.
Armitage Gardens is a unique 58 unit affordable, barrier free designed building for seniors and adults with disabilities. The initiative is a conversion of a vacant wing of an adjoining health facility. Residential support services that promote independent living are available to 50% of the residents through the Regionally operated health facility. With financial assistance from four levels of government for capital and operating costs, 52 of the apartments have rents based on a rent-geared-to-income formula. Creative partnerships have supported this unique affordable best practice project through the development process and on-going building operation.
The CMHC Housing Awards, held every two years, was created in 1988 as a national forum to share best practices dedicated to improving the quality, choice and affordability of housing in Canada. The 2006 Housing Awards under the theme —Best Practices in Affordable Housing — recognizes individuals and organizations for their outstanding accomplishments in creating affordable housing and assists them to share these best practices across the country.
The 2006 competition was open to any individual or group in the public or private sector (with the exception of CMHC employees) of the housing and construction industry; government housing and social service organizations; financial or lending institutions; non-profit groups and housing co-operatives; non-governmental organizations, volunteer associations and community groups; and religious and charitable organizations.
After applications were received, an independent external committee, composed of housing experts from across Canada, met to select the winners. Sixteen winners were recognized in Ottawa at an Awards Dinner on November 6, 2006. This provided an opportunity for them to network with each other and with representatives of the housing industry.