Updated September 1, 4:45p.m.: Scroll to the end of the article for statistics and references.
As many residents are aware, the City is considering the purchase of the Diocesan Centre located at 1245-1247 Kilborn Place. This discussion will take place at Finance and Corporate Services Committee on September 5th and then at Council on September 13. These meetings will only be discussing the City’s purchase of the property and not its future planning or use.
I know residents have lots of questions about how this site will be developed and used. I do as well. The current concept for this site is to use the existing building for a Supportive Housing Community Hub. This would include supportive housing and community and social services that could be accessed by residents as well as the surrounding community. However, the exact nature of the mix of housing and services is still to be determined through an extensive community consultation process. These discussions will take place should the purchase be approved. I am committed to engaging the community in this process and sharing information widely as these discussions progress.
The long-term vision for the site that is being proposed is a “hub” with different types of housing and community services onsite. The exact nature of that housing and services is still to be determined. The only specification so far is that one of the many components be supportive housing. Supportive housing units are permanent residences, typically rentals. Tenants pay rent as with any other rental building, the difference being that supports are available on site 24/7. These services can include assistance with life skills and maintaining housing, medical care, as well as opportunities for peer support and community involvement.
The hub model is not just for residents on the site. The supportive housing is just one component of the hub. This includes the supports that come along with it (i.e. attendants for people living with disabilities). The hub model, while still in exploratory stages would likely include services that could be accessed by any member of the community. This could include health care, counselling, food, community programming. These details will be discussed at length with the community if the purchase is approved and once the plans are developed, however this is the intention at this time.
One of the concerns brought forward by residents is that news of this potential acquisition was not shared prior to the committee documents being released. As this is a financial transaction and not a planning one, I was subject to a confidentiality agreement and therefore was unable to share this news until last week when the agreement was lifted on the day the documents were released publicly. The confidentiality agreement was requested by the Archdiocese of Ottawa Cornwall and applied to all interested parties as negotiations were taking place.
Supportive housing exists in Alta Vista already, as well as across the City, however there is a need to increase these spaces with over 360 people on a waitlist for supportive housing in Ottawa. I see this as an exciting opportunity for our Ward to continue provide supports for people who may already be in our community such as women, men, newcomers, seniors, or young adults and to improve access to community services for Ward 18 residents.
This will likely be a phased development. The centre needs rehabilitation before it can be used, the extent of which is still being assessed by staff. It is expected that it will be at least one year before any residents will be living in the current building with further uses and services to be developed over time.
During this time, the use and plans for the site will be consulted on with residents in collaboration with City Staff and my office. Any information about planning and use of the site will be shared as soon as it is available, and I look forward to discussing this with you all.
Some examples of current supportive housing include:
– Perley Health on Russell Rd. This includes supportive housing for seniors with a variety of needs.
– Personal Choice independent living on Pullen Ave. This is housing with attendants care for adults with physical disabilities.
– VHA Health & Home Support, for adults with physical disabilities on Southvale Crescent.
– Salus Housing at 1486 Clémentine Boulevard for men and women living with severe psychiatric illness.
The statistics being cited on the flyer they are citing do originate in well circulated studies, however the research and sources that are being referred to are dated and from jurisdictions that operate quite differently from our context (i.e. the United States in the early 2000s). The most recent and comprehensive data on the impacts of supportive housing on property values comes from British Columbia. It states the following:
For the majority of the case study sites, median assessed values for the most common residential form in the areas surrounding the case study sites were consistent with or grew more than trends for the surrounding municipality. This suggests non-market housing does not have an impact on surrounding residential property values.
Non-market housing: Non-market housing varies in its operations, but commonly has rents below market value, may provide social services or supports, and is typically targeted to individuals and families with low-incomes. This includes supportive housing.
This study also notes that 77% of supportive housing residents already had a connection to the area.
A Toronto study from 2008 discusses crime rates. It found that the presence of supportive housing presence had no impact on crime rates, “There is no evidence that the existence of the supportive housing buildings studied has negatively affected either property values or crime rates in the neighbourhood. Property values have increased, and crime decreased in the period considered by the study”.