A new affordable housing development is making waves in Belleville, Ontario, and the people behind it aren’t afraid to share their secret.
Bob Cottrell is president of All-Together Affordable Housing, a non-profit agency with a mission to find homes for vulnerable people. Phil Spry is the owner of Springale Development, a company focused on building affordable housing. Bob and Phil’s different business models and similar goals have generated a unique partnership for their first major project together.
“We share a lot of the same values and share the same vision for affordable housing in our community,” Bob explains from All-Together Housing’s Victorian red brick headquarters.
“There are a lot of vulnerable people who, through no fault of their own, are in a position where they need help finding suitable housing,” says Phil. “A lot of [market-based] landlords don’t look at the whole picture,” he continues. “I find it very satisfying to help provide a solution for these people.”
Bob and Phil’s ambitious new venture is the Great Saint James Street project: a 32-unit development in the heart of Belleville. The units will incorporate universal design, ensuring accessibility for residents with mobility challenges.
Two new affordable housing units are coming to the area pending approval from Hastings County council.
The Hastings County Community and Human Services committee is recommending that council approve two contracts with Springdale Development Incorporated for new builds in Belleville and Bancroft.
The company has partnered with Altogether Affordable Housing Corporation on the Belleville build and with the North Hastings Community Integration Association for the Bancroft build.
Director of Community and Human Services Erin Rivers told the committee Wednesday morning that a 17-unit building will be built in Belleville another five-unit building in Bancroft. In the Belleville building, 10 of the units will be designated as affordable housing units.
“Of all the new government funding that’s coming down from the National Housing Strategy and the co-investment fund, they really are stressing the importance of community partnerships and both these projects demonstrate that in the sense that we have a building and a not-for-profit agency partnering together to find solutions to our affordable housing crisis.”
Rivers said the two projects will cost combined total of $1,313,655 with the Belleville build costing $800,000 and the Bancroft unit costing $515,655.
Springdale Development Inc. already owns and operates an 18-unit affordable housing building on Starling Street in Belleville.
Altogether Affordable Housing Corporation is a non-profit housing and support service agency which provides “efficient, sustainable and affordable solutions for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
All-Together Housing Celebrates 10th Anniversary by Stephen Petrick, Belleville News, July 10, 2017
Affordable Housing celebrated its 10th anniversary last week – and there was plenty to celebrate as the corporation also received a $51,100 Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant.
The news was unveiled July 7 at a ceremony at All-Together’s 51 Victoria Ave. unit, a building which offers permanent residences and transitional units.
All-Together Housing is a non-profit charitable organization that offers housing to Canadian Mental Health Association and HIV/Aids Regional Services clients.
The agency believes there is considerable research to support the link between health and housing, which is one of reasons the agency chooses to partner with the CMHA and HARS.
“All-Together is deeply grateful for this grant which helped us complete renovations to our Healthy Space Housing project at 51 Victoria Ave.,” said Bob Cottrell, President of All-Together Housing. “The renovations have made possible the creation of a community meeting space for non-profit groups focused on poverty reduction initiatives and positive space housing options, a barrier-free washroom and a transitional housing unit for low-income individuals living with chronic illnesses, either physical or mental.”
Cottrell believes there are a number of measurable benefits to its Healthy Space housing project, including being the first housing agency between Toronto and Ottawa to provide supportive housing options to persons living with HIV/AIDS and offering a model of affordable housing within the local community.
All-Together was formed in July 2007 when four local community agencies — Community Advocacy and Legal Centre, Hastings Housing Resource Centre, Three Oaks Shelter for Women and United Way Quinte — decided to create a new affordable housing agency. The agency now has a second building, called Tom’s Place, on Forin Street. It’s primarily used for transitional housing for seniors.
“There is an affordable housing crisis here,” says Cottrell. “There is also a need for much more supportive housing, which is why we are grateful for the partnerships we have formed to support some of our more vulnerable tenants.”
Although wait-lists for affordable housing continue to be long and the resources of mental health agencies are stretched thin, Cottrell is optimistic that the future will be better, as senior governments are making more pledges to solve housing shortages.
“The next decade promises to be a historic one for affordable housing,” he said. “Municipalities and affordable housing providers will find themselves with $11.2 billion more to spend on new and existing units over the coming decade, as part of the federal government’s multipronged push to help people find homes.”
Click here for a number of FB Video Posts celebrating our 10th Anniversary: Helen Zegouras Addresses our Guests MP Neil Ellis presents All-Together with 10 Year Anniversary Certificate
Student Show Their Colours by Bruce Bell, Intelligencer, May 26 2017
BELLEVILLE – It was a colourful Friday at Bayside Secondary School.
Students and staff celebrated TogetherFest at the school by staging their first ever colour run to raise funds for All-Together Housing, a local organization which helps provide affordable housing to people struggling in the community.
Teacher Allison Culkin said close to 200 students participated in the five-kilometre run through the school property.
Stations were set up throughout the course with teachers and community members tossing coloured powder on the runners to symbolize inclusiveness.
“Every year we do something to support a cause, whether it be Relay for Life or 24 Hours for Hunger, and this year the students thought they would like to do something different to highlight another cause,” Culkin said. “They came up with this and decided the money they raised would be going towards the development of LGBTQ-focused transitional housing.”
As runners passed by each station, blue, pink and yellow powder was filling the air, but perhaps the most dominant colour was green – green for cash. The students had to raise a minimum of $100 each or $1,000 per team of 10 and when the horn sounded to start the run they had raised in excess of $12,000 for the All-Together Housing initiative.
Principal Ian Press was full of praise for the event organizing chairpeople Josh Terpstra, Isabella Marchiori and Jacqui Lichty, along with their team.
“I’m so proud of the students because they truly organized at least 90 per cent of this and that is no small feat,” he said. “It’s a typical effort by our students and it’s been a tradition at Bayside to have senior students step up and do something special each year. They did something really special this year and I have to say this is student leadership at its very best.”
Grade 10 student Kirstin Derrett helped out on the organizing committee and saw first hand what is expected of students as they approach their graduating year.
“At Bayside we like to help out people in our community and I think it’s great to be able to support a housing project for the LGBTQ community,” she said.ce Bell, Intelligencer, May 26 2017
Homeless to heroic: Karl Pawlowicz and the road to normality (Tom’s Place)
By Angus Argyle | January 16, 2017
BELLEVILLE – A year ago, Karl Pawlowicz, a 64-year-old from Ottawa, Ont. was homeless and living precariously out of his car.
Karl outside Tom’s Place Photo: Angus Argyle, Loyalist College Journalism Student Pawlowicz is now in the final stages of his transition back to society and is helping others in his position do the same.
Kicked out of his home by his spouse and suffering financial despair, Pawlowicz made his way to a relative in Belleville hoping to find work and a place to stay.
Karl has been living at Tom’s Place, a transition home in Belleville where people who’ve fallen on hard times have a place to call home. The house is run by the All Together Housing corporation.
Pawlowicz is currently a faculty tenant living in the house. His duties include making sure everyone is getting along, following the rules and moving forward.
Bob Cottrell, the president of All Together Housing explained how Pawlowicz is the real hero of the house;
“We would have had difficulty functioning this past year without people like Karl because they really are our eyes and ears,” he said.
“That’s a huge burden off our shoulders to know that the building is safe, To know that the guys are safe here too and that they’re moving on with their lives, that’s the most important part for us.”
“Life can turn on a dime,” said Pawlowicz as he described what it was like to suddenly lose everything.
For many of the men who stay at Tom’s place, life has happened, and it’s left them with little to nothing. This house allows them to have a room and place to call home.
Each person in the home agrees to follow a list of set rules and is expected to work towards leaving a year after their arrival. Rules include things like no drugs or alcohol and no physical violence of any kind.
Pawlowicz explained that the piece most people don’t always understand is that any fool can live with success.
“You don’t have to be a brain to live with success,” he said. Your brain is only put to the test when you’re facing failures.