Affordable housing meets community

Feb. 02, 2018

A well-loved restaurant in the city of London will soon be looking at new neighbours.

Across the road from Morrissey House is 356 Dundas. For years it was a parking lot, but now it is slowly being transformed into what will be 69 homes. As part of a movement to create more affordable housing in the city and to establish a home for people from all walks of life, 356 Dundas is one of London Community Foundation’s latest Social Impact Fund initiatives.

Yossef Lavie is the developer behind the project, well-known in the community for creating affordable housing units, especially in the core.  Some of his successful projects include 211 Dundas Street and 189 Dundas St. 

This project is unique for Yossef for two reasons.  Not only is it a quick and affordable build, being one of the first six-story wooden structures in London under modified provincial laws, but 356 Dundas Street will also have units for Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Middlesex clients.

“It’s a great opportunity to create a deepened sense of community, right in the core of London,” says Yossef. “Not only are attractive affordable housing units being created, but teaming up with CMHA Middlesex is providing opportunities for inclusivity. Apartments can be turned into homes.”

The six-story, mid-rise apartment building, located on a prime infill in the downtown core between Waterloo and Colborne Streets, will provide 50 one-bedroom affordable rental units, 10 of which will be provided to CMHA Middlesex.  This momentous new build will provide a space for individuals to get back on their feet, create a home, and a safe space for residents to call their own as they work on establishing themselves and their lives.

Dean Astolfi, Manager Property Services of CMHA Middlesex, praises the 356 Dundas St initiative: “These developments also reduce the stigma that can be associated with mental health. With available support, and housing as a foundation, these tenants can accomplish many things, including improving and contributing to the community they live in.”

It will also provide 19 units at an affordable market rent. Each floor will have its own laundry room and two bicycle storage rooms available on the ground floor, a landscaped common courtyard, and security cameras which will be installed in the building and on the exterior.  

 “One of the things that’s great about our Social Impact Fund is, it’s not just about the financial return. The social return and social value of the project is just as important,” says Vijay Venkatesan, Vice President, Finance and Operations, London Community Foundation. “356 Dundas is a great testament to how impact and development work seamlessly to better our community.”