Windsor-Essex getting $170M in region's largest affordable housing investment

·2 min read
(L-R): Michelle Coulis, Interim CEO and Director of Corporate Services at the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation (CHC), Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara, Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussen and Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk. They announced that $170 million will be invested in affordable housing in the Windsor-Essex region. (TJ Dhir/CBC - image credit)
(L-R): Michelle Coulis, Interim CEO and Director of Corporate Services at the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation (CHC), Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara, Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Minister Ahmed Hussen and Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk. They announced that $170 million will be invested in affordable housing in the Windsor-Essex region. (TJ Dhir/CBC - image credit)

Windsor-Essex is receiving its largest investment in affordable housing ever, according to officials, with $170 million in federal and municipal funding earmarked for upgrades to existing housing units.

Under a plan announced Thursday, 4,700 apartment units will receive repairs and renovations to improve the quality of 730 buildings in the region. About 12,000 tenants will see the benefits of upgrades to the interiors and exteriors of their units.

Ahmed Hussen, Canada's minister of housing and diversity and inclusion, made the announcement outside Fontainebleau Towers, one of the buildings that will receive the upgrades.

"Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home," said Hussen. "Today's announcement, through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, is helping support vulnerable populations with a home that meets their needs and provides them with the resources to thrive."

Hussen made the announcement alongside Windsor—Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara, and the interim CEO at the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation (CHC), Michelle Coulis.

Darrin Di Carlo/CBC
Darrin Di Carlo/CBC

Of the $170 total, $90 million is coming from the federal government, with the City of Windsor pitching in $76.4 million. The remaining $3.6 million is coming from the CHC through capital.

"With these dollars, we can invest in our homes and communities to improve the quality of life of our residents," said Coulis. "We are truly hopeful that this will help lead to an increased sense of pride and, in turn, build the foundations for healthy, engaged and vibrant communities."

Fontainebleau Towers residents were present at the announcement, and one seemed pleased with the announcement given that her kitchen cupboards need to be re-done.

"They're original to the apartment, and they're falling apart," said resident Mary McIntyre. "I get gorilla glue and I glue them back together. It's good until their glue dries out again."

McIntyre also would like to see upgrades to common areas, especially the smelly carpets.

Darrin Di Carlo/CBC
Darrin Di Carlo/CBC

All repairs are scheduled to be completed in 2029. Coulis explained why all the upgrades could not be finished in a shorter amount of time.

"In terms of our planning work and our pre-planning work, there's only so many resources in terms of people that we can dedicate," she said. "We want to make sure that we've got, spread over a certain period of time, enough resources to make projects run smoothly. What we've seen during COVID is that there's supply shortages; there's work shortages. So we don't want to put too much into a three-year span that we can't meet those targets."

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