Dryden, Ontario
November 28, 2012

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) in partnership with the Province of Ontario, the City of Dryden and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation gathered together in downtown Dryden today to celebrate National Housing Day, a day that acknowledges the affordable housing champions and the housing initiatives that are making a difference in people’s lives.

“The Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services facility will improve the quality of life for Aboriginal families living off-Reserve and create jobs in the local community,” said Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This is a testament to our government’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy to increase access for people in need all across the province.”

Partners, invited guests, housing providers, community members and the media listened on as success stories were shared. Partnerships between these funding and housing providers allows an opportunity to successfully offer safe and affordable Aboriginal housing opportunities to First Nation, Inuit and Métis people living off-Reserve across Ontario, at a cost within their means.

Partners in Affordable Housing

(names from left to right at end of article)

One example is Canada Mortgage and Housing’s (CMHC) Seed Funding program which provides up to $20,000 financial assistance to housing providers to carry out the initial activities required to develop a proposal for an affordable housing project that will result in increasing the stock of affordable housing in Canada. Gignul Non-Profit Housing Corporation partnered with CMHC and OAHS to develop 28 affordable rental units in Ottawa. This building assists Aboriginal families and individuals by providing safe and culturally appropriate housing at affordable rental rates.

“The Seed Funding program was a real blessing for Gignul in the advancement of its affordable housing goals. Without development support we would not have been prepared to respond to OAHS Request for Proposals in the timely manner that was required. When opportunity knocks you have to be ready to open the door. The experience we gained with the continued support of the Seed Funding Program played a huge part in the eventual success of the 1043 Cummings Avenue affordable housing project. Our appreciation goes out to CMHC, who was with us every step of the way,” commented Jim Lanigan, Board President of Gignul Non-Profit Housing Corporation.

Another example of success of these partnerships is the physical location of the main event. In conjunction with National Housing Day guests are gathering to celebrate the Grand Opening of Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services 30 unit Aboriginal housing complex located at 24 Duke Street.

This housing development is comprised of a main building which was remodeled to include 13 single occupancy units as well as 5 one-bedroom loft apartments. Space is also available for supportive programming and a 160 person capacity conference center which will be rented to generate incremental revenue to support affordable rents as well as to offer additional onsite services. Three separate blocks of housing were also constructed behind the main building offering an additional 12 townhouse style units.

In 2009, OAHS was allocated $60 million through the Federal Aboriginal Trust, as directed by an off-Reserve Aboriginal Housing Trust engagement process, to provide off-Reserve affordable housing opportunities to Aboriginal people located outside of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Funding for the 24 Duke Street development in conjunction with 438 new housing units across Ontario was provided through the First Nation, Inuit, Métis Urban and Rural Housing Program, a program OAHS designed and administered with this allocation.

“Federal/Provincial support for these 30 additional units assisted Aboriginal people living in Dryden in their search for safe, affordable housing,” said Don McBain, Executive Director of OAHS. “This new housing development shows how governments, funding agencies, housing providers and community members are able to work together to create a positive housing foundation for our community members.”

Speaking to the addition of new housing in Dryden, Councillor Sid Wintle says, “We are pleased that Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services has chosen to develop housing opportunities in the City of Dryden.  First Nation, Inuit and Métis citizens have so much to offer, and we look forward to working with all of our new area citizens to make downtown Dryden an even greater community in which to live and raise families”

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services recently received an additional $19 million from the Federal and Provincial governments to renew the FIMUR Housing Program under the Investment in Affordable Housing Program. The First Nation, Inuit, Métis Urban and Rural Housing 2012/15 Program provides opportunities for Assisted Homeownership, Rental Housing Development and Home Repair.

To inquire about available units at 24 Duke Street or to book the conference center, please contact:

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (Northwestern Ontario Office)
24 Duke Street, Dryden, Ontario
Ph: (855) 553-7267

For more information on Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services and its programs, please contact:

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (Head Office)
500 Bay Street, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Ph: (866) 391-1061

Photo: (from left to right) Kathryn Campbell and Jeff Kolibash, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; Peter Bobin, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing; Tim Pile, Métis Nation of Ontario; Don McBain, Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services; Jim Lanigan, Gignul Non-Profit Housing Corp.; Deputy Mayor Sid Wintle.