CMHC?s 2004 Housing Awards Winners Announced

OTTAWA, Oct. 1 /CNW Telbec/ – Fifteen winners in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation?s (CMHC) Housing Awards, which recognizes housing initiatives that have contributed to improving the affordability of housing, were announced today by the Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing.

This year?s Housing Awards, under the theme, ?Best Practices in Affordable Housing?, is the eighth since the program?s inception in 1988.

?The Housing Awards not only recognizes important improvements in housing, but shares solutions and best practices which have helped increase the affordability of housing and the quality of our homes in Canada,? said Minister Fontana. ?I am pleased to celebrate and honour the achievements of people whose commitment and innovation ensure that we are not only building homes – but more importantly improving the quality of life for all Canadians.?

The competition was open to both groups and individuals in the public and private sectors. The fifteen winners were chosen by an independent multi-disciplinary selection committee comprised of housing experts from across Canada.

The Awards Luncheon, to be held on October 22, 2004 at the Minto Place Suite Hotel in Ottawa, will honor the winners and be an opportunity to explore ways to transfer information about the winning initiatives to other communities across Canada.

The CMHC Housing Awards has been successful in promoting innovations in:

seniors? housing (1988); housing for young families (1990); housing for persons with disabilities (1992); housing for Aboriginal people (1994);

housing for youth (1997); housing challenges of the new millennium (2000); and affordable housing (2002).

Profiles of awards winners and a Backgrounder on the Housing Awards are attached. A fact sheet on each project is available on the CMHC Web site at search keyword: Housing Awards


Best Practices in Affordable Housing

Chambreclerc Phase II: a social reintegration project Chambreclerc Montréal, Québec

Chambreclerc offers good quality, affordable housing with community support services to 24 individuals who are considered difficult to house and who have a history of homelessness, mainly due to serious mental health issues and substance abuse. Intensive intervention and community support services are offered within a flexible and tolerant framework respectful of the adult tenants (e.g., no curfews, mischief reduction approach, etc.).

Clarence Gate Affordable Home Ownership Centretown Affordable Housing Development Corporation (CAHDCO) Ottawa, Ontario

CAHDCO is a sister organization to Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC), one of the largest private non-profit housing organizations in Canada.

CAHDCO?s mandate is to make home ownership affordable for present and future

owners. In June 2003, CAHDCO completed a 30-unit ?not-for-profit condo? in downtown Ottawa. Nineteen of the 30 units were sold to households who qualified for a housing subsidy in social housing. CAHDCO?s tenure model protects the equity of homeowners and ensures that future re-sales of the unit are at an affordable price.

Couvent de St-Henri Housing Cooperative

Laverdière + Giguêre, architects Montréal, Québec

This project involved the conversion of an institutional building constructed in the 1960?s, which borders a residential neighbourhood with industrial buildings near by. The building is configured in such a way that the living areas in the units are larger, and the rooms themselves meet the minimum requirement width-wise but have more depth than those in new construction projects. The 2.8 meter high ceilings were retained. While the architectural character of the building was preserved, it was substantially modified to address the specific needs of its tenants.

Domi-cible, Assistance program for the purchase of small rental buildings by owner-occupants Territory and Heritage Development Service, City of Montréal Montréal, Québec

Launched in 2001, the Domi-cible program offered $3,000 to $8,000 toward the purchase and occupation of an existing two- to five-unit buildings located in disadvantaged areas in Montréal. The program included a training program on the maintenance and management of a small rental building. These initiatives allowed 558 households (including more than 82.6% first-time home buyers) to become owners of small ?plex? housing, a residential type which is abundant in Montréal but without Domi-cible would be difficult to finance. Domi-cible has also contributed to the revitalization of the targeted neighborhoods.

Eva?s Phoenix, Levitt Goodman Architects Toronto, Ontario

Eva?s Phoenix is an innovative new type of transitional housing for youth. The project entailed the renovation of a fire truck repair shop built in the 1930?s by the municipality of Toronto. The conversion provides housing for 50 youth at one time, with a stay at the facility of up to one year. Ten ?houses? with five bedrooms each are organized along a central ?main street?.

Complementary community facilities include a shared recreation room, laundry, small food market and workshops where young people are taught job skills such as data management, wood working and printing.

Heartwood Place on Gaukel, HEARTWOOD PLACE Kitchener, Ontario

With financial assistance from three levels of government, and significant donations from local corporations and private donors, a hundred-year-old commercial and industrial building was renovated to create 33 units of affordable rental housing. Careful planning allowed this work to be completed within existing zoning provisions, while retaining many architectural features of the original structure. A CMHC-insured mortgage for 50% of the project cost at 5% interest supports a stable long-term cash flow outlook. Agreements with the municipality and a supportive housing provider guarantee rental income from 54% of the units.

Ile-à-la-Crosse Singles Housing Project, Saskatchewan Housing Corporation Regina, Saskatchewan

The Ile-à-la-Crosse Singles Housing Project is a cost effective and immediate response to a critical need for affordable housing. During public consultations northern municipal leaders identified the need for affordable singles housing in northern Saskatchewan. Meanwhile southern housing authorities were looking for solutions to the problem of chronic vacancies.

Relocating surplus units from the south to Ile-à-la-Crosse addressed both issues. In an effort to maximize the number of units, duplex units were reconfigured into fourplexes at a cost far less than new construction, ensuring that rents could remain affordable.