Senior housing to expand in Sarsfield

Kelly Snider
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BUILD. The Cumberland Housing Corporation (CHC) is looking to expand its Residence Hervé Joly on Colonial Rd. in Sarsfield.

The plan for the expansion in Sarsfield.

Right now, the residence, which is affordable senior's apartments for those who can care for themselves, has 24 units and the CHC would like to add an additional 14.

"We [want] to meet the need for affordable housing," said George Pappas, who is chair of the board of CHC. "We are supplying and meeting the need and trying to be proactive."

Pappas said for the expansion, they will include two bedroom apartments, as the residence currently only has one bedroom apartments.

Also, they will make certain units completely accessible and upgrade water and septic system.

Pappas said in Ottawa, there is a waiting list of approximately 10,000 people for affordable housing. He said the board receives calls weekly for the availability of housing, especially for the Sarsfield lot.

The CHC also operates two other affordable housing lots in the east end.

Dave Lewis, a property manager, said the team submitted a Request for Proposal to the City of Ottawa Housing Branch, for funding for this expansion.

"We asked for $2.1 million to make the project happen and we came in at a close second," said Lewis. "The board of directors decided we want to go ahead with the project period, so we are looking at ways to cut back or look at other sources [for funding]."

Pappas said they will be selling two units, which they would put that profit towards the expansion.

He added that councillors have been supportive, and Cumberland Councillor Stephen Blais arranged a number of meetings for the CHC with developers.

"We push came to shove, we didn't have the support [and funding] needed so the developers backed off," said Pappas.

Blais said that around the time of the budget, he did meet with staff to have the General Manager of the department to take a deeper dive and see what options might be available for the project.

As of now, the organization is looking for other ways of funding, including provincial grants.

"We keep hearing that the province will have infrastructure money available for projects ready to go. We have all the plans, and ours can be ready to go very quickly."

Pappas said they would like to start the project before 2017 and there is already interest in the units.

Blais suggested that Cumberland Housing could look at other locations in Cumberland.

"[Cumberland Housing] is such an important social benefit in our community and I think the organization needs to put a strong business case together, for why [Sarsfield] is the best location [for the expansion]."

He added that looking at other locations will help balance the need for affordable housing.

Organizations: CHC, Ottawa Housing Branch

Geographic location: Cumberland, Ottawa

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