New Wigwamen Waabnong building provides affordable and transitional housing to Scarborough's Malvern community



    TORONTO, March 30 /CNW/ - Representatives from Canada's New Government,
the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto today joined guests, tenants
and community supporters to celebrate the official opening of the new Wigwamen
Waabnong affordable housing project in Scarborough's Malvern community. The
building contains 92 affordable and transitional housing units, as well as an
integrated place of worship.
    Attending today's ceremony were the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of
Human Resources and Social Development; Brad Duguid, MPP for
Scarborough-Centre on behalf of the Honourable John Gerretsen, Minister of
Municipal Affairs and Housing; Bas Balkissoon, MPP for Scarborough-Rouge
River; Toronto City Councillor Raymond Cho, Scarborough-Rouge River; and the
Board and staff of Wigwamen Incorporated, including Bill Kinoshameg,
President.
    This $13.38 million project received contributions of over $2.5 million
from the federal government's National Homelessness Initiative and Canada
Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). In addition, the Ontario Ministry of
Municipal Affairs and Housing contributed $809,232 per year through their
Strong Communities Rent Supplement Program. Both programs are administered by
the City of Toronto, which also provided $2.2 million in grants and loans from
its Capital Revolving Fund, along with fee and permit waivers.
    "The Wigwamen housing project will go a long way towards providing
suitable and affordable housing for people who are homeless or at risk of
becoming homeless," said Minister Solberg. "This project demonstrates how
Canada's new government is taking action to prevent and reduce homelessness,
and illustrates how partnerships between all levels of governments and the
community can make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens."
    "The McGuinty government is committed to ensuring that the most
vulnerable among us can obtain decent, affordable shelter," said MPP Duguid.
"The Wigwamen project is an excellent example of governments working with the
local community to produce new affordable housing, and to create the kind of
caring, compassionate society of which we can all be proud."
    "On behalf of Mayor Miller and City Council, I want to congratulate
Wigwamen for its work in creating this important addition to the affordable
housing community in Toronto. These homes represent a better future for
residents," said Councillor Cho.
    "These new affordable and transitional homes are having a positive impact
on the lives of our tenants and their families. It couldn't have been done
without the funding partnership of the federal, provincial, and municipal
governments, as well as our generous individual and corporate donors," said
Angus Palmer, General Manager of Wigwamen.

    This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

    For more information:
    Homelessness Partnering Strategy: www.homelessness.gc.ca
    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca
    Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing: www.mah.gov.on.ca
    City of Toronto: www.toronto.ca/affordablehousing
    Wigwamen: www.wigwamen.com


    
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                                 backgrounder
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       Government of Canada contributes over $2.5 million to Wigwamen
                           Waabnong housing project
    

    The Wigwamen Waabnong housing project received $2 million from the
Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI), under the National
Homelessness Initiative (NHI). Also providing funding to this project was
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), with a contribution of $74,778
from the Proposal Development Fund (PDF), along with the provision of mortgage
loan insurance.
    The building was constructed on land previously owned by the Government
of Canada and the Government of Ontario, and transferred to the City of
Toronto for a nominal amount of one dollar. These properties were estimated to
be worth $675,000, with the federally owned parcel of land valued at $506,250,
and the provincially owned parcel at $168,750.
    The federally owned parcel of land was provided through the Surplus
Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative (SFRPHI) component of the
NHI. The SFRPHI makes surplus federal property available to community
organizations, the not-for-profit sector, and other levels of government for
projects to prevent and reduce homelessness.
    Partners in the SFRPHI include Public Works and Government Services
Canada, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, and CMHC.
    The City of Toronto contributed $2.2 million in loans, grants and waivers
to the Wigwamen Waabnong housing project.

    National Homelessness Initiative

    Canada's New Government recently announced that the NHI, scheduled to end
in March 2007, will be replaced by an improved strategy, the Homelessness
Partnering Strategy (HPS), on April 1, 2007. This strategy, with its clear
goals of improved partnerships, enhanced sustainability and tangible results,
will provide concrete, meaningful and lasting results for Canadians in need.

    Homelessness Partnering Strategy

    The new HPS will provide $269.6 million over two years to help
communities across Canada combat homelessness more effectively.
    The HPS focuses on a housing-first approach to homelessness because the
federal government recognizes that housing stability is essential to
self-sufficiency and full participation in Canadian society. With its clear
goals of improved partnerships, enhanced sustainability and tangible results,
the new Strategy will provide concrete, meaningful and lasting results for
Canadians in need.

    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

    CMHC has been Canada's national housing agency for over 60 years and is
committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable
homes, while making vibrant, healthy communities and cities a reality across
the country.

    Strong Communities Rent Supplement Program

    Ontario's Strong Communities Rent Supplement Program represents the
government's commitment to building a strong and healthy Ontario. It offers up
to $50 million per year to Municipal Service Managers to assist low-income
households. This program empowers municipalities to quickly supply funding in
order to fulfil a fundamental necessity of providing housing to those in need.

    Wigwamen Incorporated

    Wigwamen Incorporated has a total of 403 units scattered throughout the
City of Toronto including: 92 units in the new Wigwamen Waabnong apartment
building; 102 units in an apartment building for seniors; plus 209 other
family housing units (mixture of single family units, semi-detached units,
duplexes and triplexes).

    The Wigwamen organization began in 1970 when community members, who
wanted to provide better housing for Native people in the City of Toronto,
formed a committee that met at Toronto's Native Friendship Centre.





For further information:

For further information: (media only): Pema Lhalungpa, Press Secretary,
Office of Minister Solberg, (819) 994-2482; Angus Palmer, General Manager,
Wigwamen Incorporated, (416) 281-2369 or (416) 481-4451, ext. 25; Media
Relations Office, Human Resources and Social Development Canada, (819)
994-5559; Peggy Byrne, City of Toronto, (416) 392-0051, (416) 575-9753 cell;
Patti Munce, Office of Minister Gerretsen, (416) 585-6333

Organization Profile

Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

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