Seniors going back to school in Sault Ste. Marie – after building transformed into affordable housing units

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing more than $1 million to transform a school building into affordable housing development in Sault Ste. Marie to provide seniors at risk of homelessness with the housing and support services.

The former Rosedale Public School will be transformed into a nine-unit housing development including a community hub for local social services, a gymnasium, a child care centre and an EarlyON Child and Family Centre. The building, adjacent to a municipal park, also includes wider halls, automatic entrance doors, and one fully accessible unit.

The project will be partially funded through the joint federal and provincial Investment in Affordable Housing program (IAH) and Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative (OPHI). Both programs give local communities flexibility to address their local housing needs by funding new rental construction, home repairs, housing allowances, rent supplements or home ownership.

Steve Clark
Steve Clark

“Ontario is working hard to build a strong community housing system that supports our most vulnerable citizens,” said Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs and housing.

“Converting an old school building into much-needed affordable housing is a great example of this community finding creative and flexible solutions to increase housing options for seniors in Sault Ste. Marie.” 

As part of the Community Housing Renewal Strategy, the Ontario government is investing nearly $1 billion in 2020-21, which will help sustain, repair and grow community housing and help end homelessness in Ontario.

Under the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

“This investment in Sault Ste. Marie will help those in need find stable housing and access to local social services. This is an innovative and flexible solution – and I congratulate all those who have been involved with the Rosedale project for their commitment to improving the lives of others,” said Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano.

The affordable housing units are expected to be fully operational by January.

Also last week, A total of $2.9 million joint funding was announced for 15 units of housing geared to Indigenous women and children in Sault Ste. Marie.

“This investment will ensure more Indigenous women and children have access to affordable housing in their community,” MP Terry Sheehan said in a statement.

“The development transforms the former St. Bernadette Catholic School, at 462 McNabb Street, into an affordable housing complex to support Indigenous women and children who are at risk of homelessness.”

The development is supported by the Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound program run through the Friendship Centre in Sault Ste Marie.

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