Veterans’ Village receives funding, zoning go-ahead through province
The Ontario government is providing nearly $2 million to help build up to 25 tiny homes, as part of a Veterans’ Village, for military Veterans experiencing homelessness. This investment includes the transfer of provincially-owned land and funding for planning and off-site servicing.
The province is working in partnership with the Homes For Heroes Foundation and the City of Kingston to convert one-and-a-half acres of land into a Veterans’ Village, according to a release from the Ontario government. Located on the south-east corner of King Street West and Portsmouth Avenue, the Veterans’ Village will be constructed from prefabricated modular housing, the government said. Each tiny home will provide transitional housing for one Veteran and be a private self-contained unit that includes a kitchen, living room, bathroom and sleeping area.
“Ontario owes a debt of gratitude to our Veterans, and our government believes that everyone – especially those whose lives have been in the service of others – should have a place to call home,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Today’s announcement further demonstrates our government’s commitment to stand up for our Veterans, and use every resource at our disposal to ensure they can access the housing they need and deserve.”
This is not the first time Clark has announced government funding for the Veterans Village in Kingston. In fact, Clark was in Kingston one year ago – to the day – with a similar announcement. At that time the original partnership with Homes for Heroes was announced.
“Congratulations to Homes For Heroes for making this important project a reality,” said Bryan Paterson, Mayor of Kingston. “We’re honoured to be the first city in Ontario considered for a project that will create up to 25 homes for military veterans experiencing homelessness. The last year was spent laying the groundwork necessary to push this development forward. We’re now one step closer to providing these brave men and women, people who dedicated their lives to the service of our country, with safe and secure housing.”
To speed up the zoning process so that Veterans can be housed as quickly as possible, the Minister issued a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) on November 10, 2021, allowing for residential and complementary uses of the site, such as a community hall which will serve as a resource centre that will be available to the Veteran tenants for social gatherings and peer-to-peer support, according to the release. Without the MZO, it could take years for the site to be rezoned through a zoning by-law amendment and for construction of the Veterans’ Village to begin, the government said.
“We are grateful to have the support of the Ontario government partnering in our mission to end Veteran homelessness. Minister Clark and his team have been amazing to work with and they have truly shown their appreciation and compassion for those that have served and continue to serve,” said David Howard, CEO and President, Homes for Heroes Foundation. “Moving forward with building our third Veterans’ Village is due to the hard work of Ontario government staff, the team at the City of Kingston, our Kingston volunteer committee, and our staff. It takes a village to build a Village.”
This Veterans’ Village is an example of how Ontario is helping to turn underutilized provincially-owned properties into affordable housing through More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan, the government stated. As announced in Ontario’s Fall Economic Statement, the government is getting shovels in the ground for housing, including the Veterans’ village as well as other key community infrastructure, to build a better and brighter future for the people of Ontario.
Homes for Heroes estimates that there are as many as 5,000 military veterans in Canada experiencing homelessness.