Kingston Council approves ‘seed funding’ for Limestone City Co-Operative Housing

Logo for the newly formed Limestone City Co-Operative Housing (LCCH). Graphic via LCCH website.

During a meeting on Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2023, Kingston City Council voted to approve $50,000 in “seed funding” for Limestone City Co-Operative Housing (LCCH), a new not-for-profit organization that aims to provide housing to residents on a co-operative basis. The funds will be used to help the organization advance its “affordable housing goals,” noted a staff report distributed in advance of Tuesday’s meeting.

On top of the seed funding contribution, City staff have also identified two properties which could potentially be transferred from the municipality to LCCH: 900 Division Street and 367 Gore Road. According to the staff report, the two properties have already been identified by the City for “potential disposition for the purpose of housing developments… [and] staff have been trying to guide LCCH to focus on the property that would provide for an easier and most cost-effective development since this is their first ever project.”

According to Jeff McLaren, LCCH board member and councillor for Meadowbrook-Strathcona District, the $50,000 approved during Tuesday’s meeting will be used to conduct reviews of both sites in order to identify the best option for the organization. “These funds will give us a much-needed start. We can now retain an architect, which will give us a better idea of the exact number of units we can build, and how many people we can eventually house,” McLaren said in a press release.

Ashley Perna, another LCCH board member, added, “Once we have more specifics about the site, including overall size and an approximation of how many folks could potentially live there, we can also start applying for larger grants. Those funds can then be used to actually break ground and start building. It isn’t a rapid fast process, but with the City’s help, we can move forward much quicker.”

As for how the City of Kingston will cover the $50,000 contribution, the staff report noted the City currently has a “project viability budget” within the municipality’s capital funding, which allows it to support the construction of new housing units. “The funds are typically utilized for studies, financial plans, and drawings,” stated the report. “The City has supported various organizations and projects in the past with this seed funding, most recently the redevelopment of Providence Manor.”

When the staff report was presented to Council during Tuesday night’s meeting, the recommendation passed with unanimous support. Aside from the funding contribution, the City of Kingston has already supported LCCH by adding a member of Council — McLaren — to the organization’s board of directors.

With the seed funding now in place, LCCH will begin the review process for the two properties identified by staff. Once a preferred location is identified, staff will need to secure Council approval before any transfers of land can occur.

Members of the public can view the full agenda from the meeting on the City of Kingston’s City Council meetings webpage, and the meeting can be viewed in full on the Kingston City Council YouTube channel.

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