Over the past decade, the west Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale has lost more than 28 rooming houses to gentrification and renoviction, pushing nearly 350 people out of their affordable homes and into a difficult and expensive rental market. Similar stories are playing out across the country and contributing to Canada’s deepening affordable housing crisis.
Finding solutions to preserve existing affordable housing amidst Toronto's fiercely competitive real estate market is a challenge.
Seeing an opportunity to make a difference in Parkdale, Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB), a subsidiary of Vancity, created the Preserve and Protect Guarantee Program. The program allows organizations like the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT) to obtain financing approval in advance so they can act with lightning speed to buy at-risk affordable rental buildings when they become available.
VCIB’s Preserve and Protect Guarantee Program worked just as intended. In April 2021, tenants and community members celebrated PNLT’s acquisition of a 36-unit, low rent, at-risk apartment building. And their successes continue to build. PNLT’s charitable arm, the Neighbourhood Land Trust, secured a $2.6 million loan from VCIB to purchase 81 Toronto properties and preserve 153 affordable homes.
From the Vancity Affordable Housing Accelerator Fund to VCIB’s financing for non-profit and purpose-driven real estate projects, Vancity Group is working to make safe, secure, and affordable housing a reality across Canada.
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