An innovative affordable housing project celebrated an Ontario grant that helped make the project work by having a barbecue for those living there.

The Quinte Community and Housing First Partnership, also known as Sidney Place, celebrated a $50,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant that funded the facility co-ordinator position that helps run the two buildings at 450 Sidney Street in Belleville.

Besides residents to the two buildings at Sidney Place, several local officials stopped by, including Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, who assisted in presenting a plaque to the partners of the development, and Hastings County Warden Rick Phillips.

One of the key aspects of Sidney Place is providing support and assistance to residents who may need that kind of occasional help, which is where the facility co-ordinator position comes in.

Phil Spry of MAPS Development Corp, the developer behind the project, said Jena Baily, the co-ordinator, has been amazing in working with the tenants to create a community atmosphere at the buildings.

“She helps tenants who sometimes struggles with different features of moving into a new building,” said Spry. “Whether it’s a legal thing, a mental thing, an emotional thing Jena is there for them

“It’s amazing how she has made a community out of these two buildings.”

While the Trillium grant funding Bailey’s position for the first year, since Building A opened, All-Together Housing has since received a $25,000 grant from the City of Belleville thatwill help fund the position for a further six months.

Sidney Place is the result of a partnership between MAPS and All-Together Housing, as well as six area agencies and Hastings County Housing Services. The two buildings have 52 units in total.

Bob Cottrell of All-Together Housing praised MAPS for its involvement in the project as well as the six agencies who have worked with All-Together Housing to ensure the project moved forward.

Smith said he was grateful to see the Trillium Foundation stepping forward to assist with a project so dearly needed in the community.

“Certainly there is a need in our community when it comes to affordable housing,” he said. “The Trillium Foundation saw this program as a good one to invest in and I’m glad that they did.

“Everybody knows we need more affordable housing, assisted living, we need more community housing, there is all kinds of housing we need in our community. In this community, bottom line, we need more housing so this is a great project.”

Phillips said the Sidney Place project had been an inspiration for the county’s Home for the Good project which is currently being built, praising MAPS and All-Together Housing for their unique approach.

“Your innovative housing models are addressing the need not only for a place for people to call home but for some putting supports in place to assist with continued success,” Phillips said.

“Hastings County is proud of the work you have all done to address the need for affordable and supportive housing solutions.”

Besides the various dignitaries and the residents, retired members of CN Rail were also on hand to work the barbecue and help out at the event. Jerkabago was also present serving jerked chicken dinners as well.

The two Sidney Place buildings, the second of which was only opened for occupancy Sept. 1, comprise half of what will eventually be a four-building development that will have 120 units.

Spry said while the plan is to get the next two buildings going as soon as possible, he doesn’t have a timeline at the moment as he is busy with completing a project in Bancroft and getting started with a 32-unit development on Great St. James Street in Belleville.

That project just recently received a building permit from the city.