Toronto, ON, Oct. 26, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Traditional Territories of multiple Indigenous Nations, including the Haudenosaunee and the Treaty Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit/Toronto, ON – Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB), in partnership with Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT), today announced a new financing solution to increase community access to affordable rental housing in Parkdale, Toronto. The first-of-its-kind Preserve and Protect Guarantee Program will support the Neighbourhood Land Trust (NLT) – PNLT’s charitable arm – to rapidly acquire at-risk affordable rental buildings in Parkdale, helping to fill a gap in existing funding for the preservation of affordable housing.
“Affordable rentals provide crucial housing for our communities. Yet over the past decade, Parkdale has lost 28 rooming houses to gentrification and renoviction, displacing hundreds of renters – many of whom have now been pushed into homelessness – and disproportionately impacting BIPOC people and working class residents,” said Joshua Barndt, Executive Director of Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust.
“The new Preserve and Protect Program is a solution to this problem as we fight for a just recovery,” Joshua Barndt continued. “It will allow the Neighbourhood Land Trust to respond quickly to acquire at-risk properties that are put up for sale, protecting our supply of affordable rental housing and tackling Toronto’s affordability crisis head-on.”
To date, over $4 million has been committed from five investors, with the Atkinson, Metcalf, ECHO and Fairmount Foundations providing the anchor investments to kickstart the Preserve and Protect Program – and progress is already being made. The NLT is currently monitoring 59 at-risk rental properties in Parkdale, with the objective of protecting over 40 units of affordable rental housing in the first round of the program. This initiative builds on the success of the NLT’s Rooming House Acquisition Pilot Project in 2019, which saw the preservation of a 15-unit building as permanently affordable housing and involved financing from VCIB.
“We’re inspired to see impact investors across sectors coming together to support an innovative solution that addresses the affordability crisis and helps facilitate an inclusive recovery for all,” said Jay-Ann Gilfoy, CEO of VCIB. “Following VCIB’s support for PNLT’s first acquisition in 2019, we’re pleased to now be able to co-develop a program that allows them to replicate that success and secure as many homes as possible, as quickly as possible.”
Colette Murphy, CEO of the Atkinson Foundation, said: “The Atkinson Foundation’s commitment to the residents of Parkdale goes back four decades. In recent years, we’ve backed the efforts of the Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre and the Parkdale People’s Economy project to enact their exciting vision for equitable local economic development that centres on residents’ well being. As an anchor investor in the Preserve and Protect Program, we can see how our support for the Neighbourhood Land Trust and VCIB will preserve affordable rental housing in Parkdale in perpetuity. That’s an outstanding return on investment!"
As Canada’s first and only values-driven bank, VCIB is committed to driving positive social and environmental change within the communities in which it operates. The Preserve and Protect Guarantee Program signals the bank’s ongoing commitment to use the tools of finance to create innovative, long-lasting solutions to address Toronto’s housing crisis.
The Preserve & Protect Program remains open to additional investment, with a first close scheduled for December this year. Under the Program, VCIB will hold funds from investing organizations in a VCIB Impact GIC that will be used to guarantee a loan to the NLT for the acquisition of at-risk properties.
About Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB)
VCIB is an Ontario-based schedule 1 federally chartered bank and a subsidiary of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity). As Canada's first values-driven bank, VCIB partners exclusively with organizations that drive social, economic, and environmental change. The bank is committed to connecting these visionary enterprises with financial solutions that allow them to create, grow, and foster change. VCIB's primary focus is lending for social purpose real estate (affordable housing, co-op housing, co-working spaces, green and heritage buildings), as well as meeting the needs of non-profit organizations, foundations, and social enterprises. For more information, visit vcib.ca, tweet us at @BankVancity and connect with us at Facebook.com/BankVancity.
About Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust
Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT) is a community land trust in Parkdale led by a group of residents and organizations trying to protect the social, cultural and economic diversity of Parkdale by redefining how land is used and developed. The Neighbourhood Land Trust is the charitable arm of the PNLT. Through the community land trust model, PNLT and NLT will acquire land and use it to meet the needs of Parkdale by leasing it to non-profit charitable partners who can provide affordable housing, supportive housing and community economic development.
About Atkinson Foundation The Atkinson Foundation is a Canadian charitable foundation committed to social and economic justice. We are part of a global movement that believes income, wealth and democractic inequality are not inevitable. As a grantmaker, investor and advocate, we work alongside community organizers, workers, policy innovators and investors who are creating more decent work and a fair economy.