By Kristen Frisa
Plans are in the works to revamp a heritage building, built in 1885, to provide affordable rental units to young adults leaving the care of the Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex (CAS).
The building, located at 340 Richmond St., will be split into five apartments, which will be provided along with “a wide range of wrap-around supports,” including on-the-job-training programs, housing stability support, community belonging and social inclusion programs, and health and wellness support.
“Youth Opportunities Unlimited and Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex will be working together at 340 Richmond to help young adults exiting the care of CAS,” said Steve Cordes, executive director of Youth Opportunities Unlimited.
“This building will be home to five young adults and a housing advisor; offering them affordable housing and access to supports that will include education, employment and the caring and support we all need; especially as we move into adulthood. Together, we will help these vulnerable young adults thrive,” Cordes said.
The project will move forward thanks to $559,463 in funding from the federal government, which Adam Vaughan, parliamentary secretary to the minister of families, children, and social development, announced in London on August 23.
The funds will come from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF), a pillar of the National Housing Strategy (NHS).
Partners on the project include Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), the City of London, and the residents of 340 Richmond St. in London.
“Through investments in like this, our Government is providing assistance to those who need it most here in London and in all corners of the country,” Vaughan said. “We are committed to making communities stronger through projects like these. These investments help create new jobs and stimulate the local economy, while providing access to safe, affordable homes for Canadians.”
According to Kristian Wilson, senior director of service at London and Middlesex Children’s Aid Society, the 2017 Child and Youth Family Services Act makes room for 16 and 17-year-olds to receive protective service within the community.
“We are proud of our collaborative relationship with Youth Opportunities Unlimited and grateful for the wide range of wrap around supports this investment will afford,” Wilson said.
The house, which currently houses a commercial unit on the main floor, with two units housed on the second and third floors, will be renovated to include five transitional housing units, and one unit for a live-in support worker. The main floor will house services dedicated to the tenants, including a computer lab, employment resource centre, and an interview room.
Through the NHCF, the Government of Canada will work with partners to build up to 60,000 new affordable homes and repair up to 240,000 existing affordable and community homes over the next 10 years.