Missanabie Cree First Nation partners with Toronto on Housing Now Indigenous-led site

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Missanabie Cree First Nation has been named the development partner for new housing at 140 Merton St. – the first non-profit developed Housing Now site led by an Indigenous organization.

The building will be dedicated to providing housing options for Indigenous elders and other seniors. It will provide 184 new rental homes, of which approximately 50 per cent will be affordable.

In June 2021, a Request for Proposals (RFP) for this site was issued to the non-profit sector. The project was awarded to the Missanabie Cree First Nation, whose team includes EllisDon Community Builders, based on their affordability and financial commitments, commitment to community benefits and their experience delivering supportive housing for seniors.

“We are thrilled and inspired to work with the Missanabie Cree First Nation and the City of Toronto to ensure the community has a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Nicholas Gefucia, vice president, EllisDon Community Builders.

“EllisDon Community Builders is leveraging its team of dedicated professionals and resources as one of Canada’s top builders to address the growing nationwide challenge of affordable housing.”

Construction is slated to begin in November of 2023 with occupancy to begin in January 2026.

Missanabie Cree First Nation is active in community building and reconciliation by leading and contributing (including financially) to initiatives in health, elder care, affordable housing, economic development, relationship-building, culture and intercultural dialogue.

“Providing a safe, respectful and holistic environment for our Nation’s members is a foundational part of who we are as Missanabie Cree First Nation,” said Chief Jason Gauthier. “We are delighted to be working with the City of Toronto and EllisDon Community Builders on critical affordable housing and social infrastructure initiatives for our members and the community-at-large and appreciate their efforts and commitment in helping us deliver on this value.

“These projects are generational and will work to house not just our present communities, but also to build towards a sustainable, inclusive future for us all.”

SPRINT Senior Care will be temporarily relocated next door and will return to 140 Merton St. once construction is completed. Additional community space will be created as part of the redevelopment for the future tenants of 140 Merton St. and the senior community in midtown Toronto.

In 2020 and 2021, more than 200 Indigenous households were housed in various new and existing supportive housing opportunities across the city, including 389 Church St., 11 Macey Ave., 321 Dovercourt Rd. and 877 Yonge St. More than 300 more Indigenous households also received housing benefits to assist with rental costs.

“We will continue to advance our commitment to reconciliation and moving forward together with Indigenous communities. I am committed to making way for more Indigenous-focused housing projects as quickly as possible as part of our overall efforts working with the other governments and our community partners to get more housing built,” said Mayor John Tory

“The City is committed to supporting Indigenous communities and organizations in Toronto. I am proud to see this partnership between the Missanabie Cree First Nation and EllisDon that will create new affordable rental housing for Indigenous Peoples in Toronto”.

– Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee

The Missanabie Cree First Nations’ homelands are located in Northeastern Ontario near the small hamlet of Missanabie, however their People were displaced from their lands over 100 years ago and as a result are dispersed throughout Ontario and Canada. In consideration of this, the First Nation operates hub service centres in Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, London and Toronto.

 

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