Affordable housing projects on track for 125th anniversary

Christ Church Bell’s Corners’ housing project under construction
Christ Church Bell’s Corners’ housing project, launched in November 2020, hopes to welcome tenants in summer 2022.
By on September 1, 2021

Seven parishes are considering, actively planning or constructing new affordable housing.

Their ministry will ensure the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa will more than meet its goal of creating 125 units in celebration of the Diocese’s 125th anniversary this year.

A total of 167 units are now either completed, in construction or in the final stages of planning. The 125 goal will likely be exceeded in 2023 or 2024 when units at the Julian of Norwich project become available to tenants. The following is a summary of the current status of projects.

Cornerstone Housing for Women, All Saints Westboro

Cornerstone opened its new residence on Princeton Avenue in Westboro late in 2018. The residence provides 42 apartments, a Respite Room for special care needs and other facilities for homeless women. All Saints Westboro raised $78,187 for the Respite Room as well as providing volunteer help.

Christ Church Bells Corners

The Housing Project for Bells Corners hopes to welcome tenants sometime next summer. A building under construction will provide 35 mixed use affordable units that will house 56 people as well as a resource centre and food cupboard. The project is a partnership between Christ Church Bells Corners and the Diocese. The parish’s fundraising campaign has raised more than $650,000 towards its goal of $1.6 million.

St Thomas the Apostle 

Ellwood House – affordable housing for seniors – opened in 1988 on the campus of St. Thomas the Apostle church. Expansion dreams have been percolating for years and are now coming true, with plans to extend onto the site of the former rectory. Last June two meetings—a special vestry at St Thomas and then Diocesan Council—approved motions to move forward.  The Ellwood House Extension project team is working toward City planning approval in the fall. When completed the extension will more than double the existing 30-unit capacity.

Julian of Norwich

The parish of Julian of Norwich is partnering with the Diocese and the Multifaith Housing Initiative in a project that combines reimagining what it is to be church with affordable housing and community space in the Merivale Road district. The target date for completion of the entire project is 2024-2025 although some parts will be completed sooner. Multi-faith Housing Initiative will start fundraising in 2022.  The project will provide about 60 affordable housing units, with a focus on family-sized units and the ability to house up to 200 residents. There will be a variety of units from smaller units suitable for seniors to units for larger families.

St James Perth

St James has taken leadership in establishing the Caring Community Housing Initiative Perth (CCHIP). Following a town hall meeting this summer a steering committee is being formed to implement the proposal: “to gather members of the Perth community to work to create new units of safe, affordable and secure housing each year for three years from existing housing stock and support our new neighbours in their homes.” A fundraising campaign aims to raise at least $300,000 to support renovation and maintenance of properties.

St James Carleton Place

The parish’s mission statement aspires to a leadership role in affordable housing. The aspiration is moving forward with current steps to build a coalition with other denominations and stakeholders. The parish is looking for the best entry point for a faith-based coalition to play a meaningful role in the town.

St John the Evangelist Smiths Falls

St John’s has identified affordable housing as a top priority for its service to the wider community. The parish has a working group and has held congregational meetings where options for the church’s participation have been discussed. Meanwhile, a special vestry meeting moved to implement the parish’s second priority – support of local youth. The St. John’s Anglican Church Memorial Scholarship is valued at $20,000 over four years and will be awarded annually to a graduate of Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute, pursuing post-secondary education in an accredited college or university, who demonstrates financial need.  

St Paul’s Almonte

The congregation is looking at ways to reimagine a property that contains the church, the rectory and a “parish house” with a small parcel of land that was bequeathed to the parish. The parish house is rented to a refugee family at subsidized rates. Affordable housing is a leading option for redevelopment.



  • David Humphreys

    David Humphreys is a member of the diocesan Homelessness and Affordable Housing Working Group. A retired journalist and former Globe and Mail bureau chief, he is a regular contributor to Crosstalk.

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