The McGuinty government is expanding Infrastructure Ontario’s loan program, committing to provide up to $500 million in financing for social and affordable housing providers.
This latest expansion of the loan program supports key government priorities, including Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy — which is designed to build a stronger economy by creating more opportunity for all low-income families and children. The strategy sets a goal of reducing child poverty by 25 per cent in five years — lifting 90,000 children out of poverty.
“Enabling social and affordable housing providers access to low-cost loans will have a remarkable impact on low-income families,” said George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. “In fact, the loan to Green Phoenix benefits existing tenants by lowering their utility bills and helps our environment by providing cleaner, greener energy for the entire building. It’s a tremendous example of how we can bring together many goals into one project.”
The Green Phoenix project is the redevelopment of Phoenix Place, an 11-storey non-profit affordable housing project built in 1976 by Parkdale United Church Foundation. The building was erected on the site of the old Parkdale United Church, offering 136 units to tenants with modest to low incomes.
“Affordable housing plays a crucial role in ensuring the strength and diversity of our communities,” said Jim Watson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The expansion of Infrastructure Ontario’s loan program to include financing for social and affordable housing is a terrific step forward for our province.”
The Poverty Reduction Strategy represents an additional annual investment of over $1.4 billion at full implementation — including $300 million in new targeted initiatives. It includes implementing full-day learning for four and five year olds with an initial focus on low-income neighbourhoods. Legislation will be introduced in the spring that, if passed, would commit Ontario to annual reporting on key indicators of opportunity such as income levels, school success, health care and housing.
“We’re very excited to begin the retrofit phase of the Green Phoenix project with Infrastructure Ontario’s help,” said Rod Layman, project manager at Green Phoenix. “Having geothermal and solar plant and ventilation systems will make a big difference for everyone’s comfort, and help keep the place affordable for decades to come. It is expected to lower overall utility costs by 65 per cent and will reduce the site’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent, or about 1,100 tonnes every year.”
Applications are now being accepted from social and affordable housing providers at www.infrastructureontario.ca. To date, more than $1.8 billion has been provided to support more than 650 infrastructure projects around the province.