The feds, the province, the city — everyone is chipping in some money to help make a Guelph affordable housing project for seniors a reality.
On March 18, representatives from all levels of government gathered for a virtual news conference to announce more than $40 million in funding for the Silver Maple Seniors Community, a project that is already under construction on Westmount Road next to St. Joseph’s Health Centre.
The development, a project of St. Joseph’s Housing Corporation, will feature a total of 115 units, 65 of which will be designated as affordable housing.
To offer a better idea of what this affordable housing will look like, the following are some interesting facts about the project:
• How is “affordable” defined, and what will it cost to live in one of these units?
The affordable units will be priced at 79 per cent of median market rents for west Guelph. Project funding was based on Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Rental Market Survey of October 2019, which listed median market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Guelph at $1,104 and $1,200 for a two bedroom.
What that means is that rent for the affordable units should be $872.16 for a one-bedroom, and $948 for a two-bedroom.
But those are 2019 figures.
“The rents will be updated prior to the completion of the project,” St. Joseph’s communications specialist Tanya Tomasino said in an email to the Mercury Tribune.
Construction is expected to be completed in late 2022 or early 2023, said Brendan Lane, chair of the board for St. Joseph’s Housing Corporation.
“That could change, but that’s currently where we are right now,” he said.
In addition to rent, tenants will also pay for their own hydro, telephone, cable, internet and parking, but not for heating or cooling, Tomasino said.
• What will the affordable units look like?
One-bedroom units will be 650 square feet for affordable units, 700 square feet for market-rent units.
The two-bedroom units are approximately 850 square feet, whether affordable or market-rate.
The project will have a total of 115 units, with 28 units housed in townhomes, and 87 units in a seven-storey apartment building. Only 65 of these units will be affordable, and they will all be housed in the apartment building.
Of those 65 units, 55 will be one-bedroom units, and 10 will be two-bedroom units.
“Rents will remain at rates defined as affordable for at least 50 years,” said Tomasino.
• How many people will live there?
It is not clear exactly how many people will eventually call Silver Maple their home, but it will be more than 115.
“Typically, the units would house no more than two seniors per unit,” Tomasino said.
• How do people apply to live at Silver Maple?
Prospective tenants can apply at www.sjhcg.ca/seniors-housing/residences-of-st-josephs/.
Tenants must meet eligibility criteria, including being at least 65 years old and not owning property in Canada. There is also a maximum household income qualification.
• What is the government chipping in?
The federal government announced it is providing $38.9 million for the project, with $2,320,395 being in the form of forgivable loans.
Funding is provided through the CMHC’s National Housing Co-Investment Fund, which supports construction of mixed-income, mixed-tenure and mixed-use affordable housing, a news release said.
A further $2.9 million, also announced March 18, is being provided through joint federal and provincial funding.
The joint federal-provincial funding is being provided through the Investment in Affordable Housing, Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative and Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative programs.
The County of Wellington has already put in $1.6 million from funds provided by the provincial and federal governments, and in August 2020, Guelph’s city council approved granting $800,000 to the project from the city’s affordable housing reserves.
“The City of Guelph is always proud to be a partner and an advocate for St. Joe’s,” said Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie. “We wholeheartedly support this because we know it will create a safe, comfortable and affordable place for our seniors.”