The London Affordable Housing Foundation began in 2000, after the London Sisters of St. Joseph received a bequest to address poverty.
Sisters Sue Wilson, Margo Ritchie and Joan Atkinson met to discuss how best to help people in London struggling with poverty. They decided to focus on affordable housing, which had recently been identified by the City of London as a priority. Years of offloading by higher levels of government had left many cities, including London, woefully understocked in affordable housing. Lacking experience in developing affordable housing, the Sisters met with other faith groups, city officials, and housing advocates to obtain information and ideas.
These meetings led to the creation of the London Affordable Housing Foundation as a coalition of London faith-based groups committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing in their community. Within three years the foundation had received its incorporation papers and charitable status, and began raising funds from local faith groups, businesses and private donors for affordable housing projects.
These initial efforts led to the construction of 14 affordable townhouse rental units in a newly developing subdivision, with the units being completed in 2005. A few years later LAHF provided $100,000 to Huron Pines Housing Cooperative in North London to assist them in their efforts to build 25 affordable cooperative rental units, four of which were wheelchair accessible. Then, in 2011, the foundation negotiated the purchase and redevelopment of the closed Gethsemane United Church into a three-story, 25-unit affordable housing apartment building. LAHF is currently working on a proposal for a new affordable housing development on Dundas Street called Nightingale Place, which will feature 41 affordable units, including six accessible units.
LAHF seeks to bring together donors, builders, government and business to increase the supply of affordable housing. We primarily use our funds for the purchase of land, which constitutes our single biggest expense. After securing lands for development, the foundation then seeks partnerships with governments and assistance from donors to fund the construction of affordable housing units. We are committed to ensuring as many properties and units as possible are both fully accessible and environmentally sustainable.
There are approximately 5000 families in London on the city's affordable housing waiting list. While LAHF has made some progress there is still a long way to go. But with your help we can put an end to homelessness in London and ensure all members of our community have access to affordable, safe and dignified housing.