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St Andrew’s looking to repurpose church manse to address housing crisis

The historic manse building of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Image from the church website.

The historic manse building belonging to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at the corner of Queen and Clergy streets in downtown Kingston may be a viable option amid the affordable housing shortage in the city.

According to a release from the church, dated Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, the Session (governing board) of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Kingston, is inviting Expressions of Interest from community organizations to lease the historic manse building on its property to provide housing as a way of addressing poverty, homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in Kingston.

“St. Andrew’s Church acknowledges the affordable housing crisis in our community,” says Minister Rev. Andrew Johnston, “and our congregation feels that making the Manse available to an agency might be a way to address the housing issues we face.”

The congregation of St. Andrew’s Church is preparing to shift the use of its church manse, which has been used to support an intentional student community connected with the spiritual mission of the church, according to the release. The manse repurposing committee says rent from the manse has been a modest but important source of income for the maintenance of the historic building and St. Andrew’s Church.

A committee has been struck to find a partner interested in leasing the historic building in downtown Kingston. “We are interested in hearing about unique and innovative ideas,” says committee chair David Holland. “We are inviting expressions of interest from groups interested in providing evidence-based housing solutions, in a safe, dignified and sustainable manner.”  The committee has asked for Expressions of Interest to be submitted by January 31, 2021.

The manse at St. Andrew’s is the historic home to the minister. It is a heritage limestone house at the corner of Clergy and Queen Streets, described by Heritage Canada as one of the city’s finest homes. According to the release, the manse has seven large bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large common room and a kitchen, in excellent repair. “We have this great physical asset, which could be used to make a difference in people’s lives in a very real and tangible way,” says Johnston.

Interested groups should review the Expression of Interest document on the Church’s website, at www.standrewskingston.org/manse and arrange a time to visit and view the property. Interested groups can contact the committee by email at: [email protected]

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