It has been a long time since St. Clare’s began the process to build affordable housing at 48 Abell/180 Sudbury. We had to weave together funding from various sources, primarily from all three levels of government, getting approvals from the City of Toronto, work our way through appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board and to divisional court and maintain confidence that no matter how bleak it appeared the effort to develop new affordable housing was worth the struggle—ground was broken today for 190 units of new affordable housing.
St. Clare’s came together about 10 years ago, arising from Toronto Action for Social Change. We came together to do something practical to address the housing crisis and the ongoing tragedy of homelessness. Over the years we’ve been able to weave together government financing and the financial and moral support of foundations, faith communities, corporations, unions and individual donors to help St. Clare’s, in some small way, address the problems that brought St. Clare’s together. We continue the spirit of TASC in our approach to development—in essence we are a direct action collective that builds affordable housing.
My family has had a long history of involvement in addressing the needs of the broader world. When my mother passed away we were encouraged to follow he example of working to ensure everyone was welcomed, everyone had a home. She tried to bring to life in the current moment the spirit inherent in the passage (John 14:2): “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.” What St. Clare’s does, indeed what everyone involved in new hosing development does, is to share in the sacred tradition of ensuring that all people have a place they can call their home.
Today’s ground breaking of the 150 Sudbury/48 Abell affordable housing project in the penultimate step in providing new affordable housing in a mixed income community for hundreds of people from a diversity of backgrounds an experiences. It hasn’t been an easy process but the results will certainly be worthwhile. In about 18 months there will be close to 200 new units of housing in Toronto, affordable rental housing in the mixed of a major urban renewal initiative.