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Town antes up seed money for non-profit affordable housing

Town of Collingwood offering $25K in seed funding for a non-profit that can develop a community land trust, co-op or other innovative arrangement through a request for expressions of interest process

If you’ve ever thought about running your own non-profit and care passionately about affordable housing, a new opportunity through the Town of Collingwood might pique your interest.

The Town of Collingwood has opened a request for expressions of interest process for a third-party non-profit organization to help increase affordable housing supply in Collingwood, and has put up $25,000 in seed funding to be awarded to a non-profit that can develop, own, and operate affordable housing in the community.

“The housing issue cannot be solved by any one group alone,” said Mayor Yvonne Hamlin in a news release. “Providing seed funding a not-for-profit or non-profit housing group that can develop a community land trust, co-op or other innovative arrangement, and use government or social financing to build, own and/or operate affordable housing over the long-term would be an asset in our community.”

In order for organizations to be eligible, they must be a proposed new or existing charity/not-for-profit/non-profit or community organization. The town will consider partnerships between non-profit and for-profit entities at this early stage. Eligible organizations must have a community-based or social mission.

Organizations that have a demonstrated connection and a local interest in working in Collingwood would be a benefit.

The non-profit or not-for-profit organization should have the ability to receive lands or units from donors, build new or renovate existing structures to create affordable housing, or take advantage of future financial incentives from all levels of government or via social financing.

The town revealed its first-ever affordable housing master plan last year, which went through public consultations this past summer with 42 recommendations, before being pared down to 27 recommendations presented to councillors in full in October.

The 200-page plan compiled by N. Barry Lyon Consultants detailed multiple initiatives to increase affordable housing for middle-income renters and homebuyers.

One of the key questions sought to be answered through the affordable housing master plan is whether the town should, effectively, become a landlord and build units themselves to add to the stock. The consultant recommended that the town should not become developers, instead indicating it would be more efficient and effective for other community partners to deliver these actions, with town support.

The increasing demand for adequate, affordable housing supply inspired the recent seed funding opportunity at the request of council. The town has put out the request as non-profits are eligible for financial incentives for affordable housing through federal and provincial government grants that can’t be accessed by municipalities.

“The town is eager to receive submissions that embrace a collaborative and innovative approach to the use of this seed funding,” notes the news release.

Applications through the Request for Expressions of Interest are due to the town by June 30 at 4:30 p.m.

To review the town’s request for expression of interest, click here.

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen is an experienced journalist working for Village Media since 2018, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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