Plans are nearing completion for a project that will more than double the capacity of Ellwood House at St Thomas the Apostle church in Alta Vista.
Ellwood House, a non-profit run by St Thomas the Apostle and the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, has provided 30 units of safe and affordable housing for seniors since it opened in 1987.
Details of an extension that will add 38 units on the property at 2262 Braeside Ave., site of the former St Thomas rectory, were presented virtually to the community on Oct. 21.
The Ellwood House board of directors has been working closely with neighbours and the city to ensure the project is in harmony with its surroundings, including access to the site, parking and tree conservation.
The board has submitted its site plan to the City of Ottawa planning department. That started the city’s due diligence process, including public notification and consultation. Site plan approval by the City Planning Department is the last step before, it is hoped, construction can begin sometime next year for completion in 2024. The board received $100,000 from the city last year to complete the planning requirements and $82,000 from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as seed funding. Now it is preparing for a major fundraising campaign to support the projected $10 million construction cost.
The project manager is Cahdco, the experienced not-for-profit affordable housing developer with Colizza Bruni Architecture, the firm that designed the original Ellwood House 35 years ago.
The Ellwood board sees the project as a contribution to the ever-increasing need for seniors who need stable, affordable homes. There are more than 2,500 senior households on the City’s Central Registry. The city declared homelessness a state of emergency in 2020. Ellwood is open to all; it’s not faith-based.
The plans call for 38 one-bedroom units over three-and-a-half storeys. The ground level would sit slightly below grade to keep the new building in scale with the existing structure. Six units would be barrier-free while all the others would be fully visitable for those with accessibility needs. The extension and the existing building would be connected, allowing amenities like the library and lounge to be shared by all.
The project is a contribution by St Thomas the Apostle to the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa’s successful campaign to create 125 affordable housing units to mark its 125th anniversary this year.