Buying a building in today’s real estate market is not easy, particularly for a non-profit mental health care agency. Yet, thanks to hard work, the right partnerships, and social purpose real estate financing from Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB), St. Jude Community Homes bought their Gerrard Street site, preserving affordability and community for their residents.
St. Jude Community Homes provides permanent, safe and affordable rental housing for people living with mental illness. By creating a sense of community and offering support when needed, they have created a space where residents not only build their independence but thrive.
The non-profit mental health agency operates four residential sites with self-contained rental units in various Toronto neighbourhoods. When the landlord was looking to sell their building on Gerrard Street East, the long-term tenants were not in a financial position to buy—which meant 20 affordable housing units were at risk.
With the expertise of a development consultant and the efforts of their board, staff and residents, St. Jude Community Homes successfully applied to the City of Toronto’s Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition (MURA) program.
VCIB financed the outstanding purchase costs. “As an impact-driven lender, we’re familiar with the granting process and non-profit housing landscape,” says Chloe Wong, Commercial Real Estate Account Manager at VCIB. “That allows us to see grant money as a source of equity when crunching the numbers.”
Chloe adds, "we want to make it easier for housing providers to continue doing their work and make a difference in peoples’ lives”.
After a lot of teamwork and collaboration, St. Jude Community Homes officially became owners of their Gerrard Street building in September 2023, preserving their residents’ affordable homes and their supportive community for the long-term.
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