Trinity Affordable Housing Phase 2 re-organized

In 1990, Trinity Housing opened a 20 unit apartment building at 25 James Street East (corner of John Street) for low income tenants with Rent Geared to Income.  But around 2018, an expansion of 27 units was planned and Trinity Housing of Cobourg Phase 2 (THCP2) was formed. Like phase one, the expansion would be a not-for-profit corporation owned by Trinity Church.  In January 2019, they asked Cobourg Council for financial support but only a fraction of their ask was approved.  Early this year, the managing board decided that “this endeavour has proved to be more difficult than imagined. The many drawings, plans and studies required resulted in many upfront costs and the estimate for the cost of construction has risen dramatically.  It has become apparent that the scope of the project has exceeded the capacity of our not-for-profit corporation, despite the determination of the board of directors.”

As a result, a meeting of Church members was called for February 11; their meeting notice included the following:

The provider [later identified as Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services – (OAHS)] will assume the assets of our Phase 2 corporation which include the vacant land as well as all the preparatory work such as site plans, architectural drawings, engineering studies etc. This means that all of the work that the board has undertaken to this point will be used. The project will be built as the Trinity Housing board of directors has envisioned it. In addition, and this is of vital importance, the provider will also assume all of our current liabilities which are substantial.

The existing building, Trinity Place, will not be part of the transaction and will remain under the management of Trinity Housing.

The Announcement by Gordon Robins, Chair, Trinity Housing Corporation Inc Phase 2 says:

OAHS has a 30-year history delivering safe, affordable housing across the province. They will carry forward the next phase of planning and begin construction based on the design, to deliver this important asset for the community.

OAHS is a corporation operating over 3,300 affordable housing units across Ontario, with a mandate to provide safe and affordable housing to urban and rural First Nation, Inuit and Métis people living off-reserve in Ontario. OAHS currently serves approximately 11,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous tenants, ensuring suitable housing for low and moderate income families and individuals.

Gordon assured me that the new apartments will be available to ALL residents of Northumberland and not just the indigenous.

Since the units will be for Rent Geared to Income (RGI), they should help somewhat with Cobourg’s need for affordable housing.

For anyone not in the market (or even if you are), you might be interested in the eligibility conditions.

To be eligible for subsidized housing, you must meet all of the following conditions:

  • All members of the household must be a Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident Status, Refugee or refugee Claimant.
  • No member of the household is currently under a deportation, departure or exclusion order to leave Canada.
  • At least 1 person in your household must be 16 years of age and older.
  • No member of the household owes money to any social housing provider.
  • No member of the household has been convicted of an offence in relation to rent-geared-to-income assistance or found by a court of law or the Landlord and Tenant Board to have misrepresented their income for the purpose of rent-geared-to-income assistance.
  • If you own a house or rent any other property, you must agree to sell it or terminate the lease within 180 days of being housed.
  • You must be able to live independently, and make your own arrangements for support services.

Eligibility and actual rent would be determined by the County as is done for Trinity Place.  They state that:

The County of Northumberland determines eligibility for subsidized housing and rent payments required. All rents at Trinity Place are funded by the federal government (60%) and the County of Northumberland (40%) with some assistance from the rents received.

An example: if you are applying for a one bedroom unit, your income must be no more than $3000 per month.  There’s more detail at the County site here.

The only indication of a time line was that a move to construction would be “in the very near future”.

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Sandpiper
1 month ago

Just read an article in the News that suggest the Mayor wants the County to pay for increased Police services incurred as a result of 310 Division I hope that is at a REAL cost figure not the one I read about the week before where they were billing out 2 officers with probably some equipment like a vehicle and dispatch
for around $55.– per hr . for Two I think we should also have some People from Trinity
sitting on the Advisory Board of Transition House holding a Voting position as their obvious Experience
in Management of these types of properties Fairs well with the Community

Sandpiper
1 month ago

With those Income numbers $ posted in order to qualify for Subsidized Housing
I would say more than 50 % of the Retired & former self employed plus others should qualify
Again there has not been any reasonable Cost of Living increase or inflation catch up for Seniors or disabled in 15 yrs from this or any Govt . What’s wrong with this picture ??
Look at the Educator strike taking place today they are asking for 2 years Retro active inflation catch up pay plus wage hikes .in the future up to 30 %
Where is ZOOMER and CARP in all of this ?

Kevin
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Sandpiper, perhaps you are correct about qualifying on income. However, if a retired person owns a house and lives in it, the $3000 would be enough to cover property taxes, insurance, utilities. With maintenance, food and other living costs there will not be much left at the end of the month. However, if the retired person has investments and can use that money to supplement income it is possible to live fairly well, until the investments run out. If I were retired I would not want to sell my house, a requirement for a RGI unit, to move into a subsidized rental unit.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

You need to get out more and attend some of the local seniors clubs
and —-Listen many can’t afford those home s and the exterior maintenance any more or Condos , especially if they are widows / widowers on half the pensions . The Taxes , Common element fees , utilities , newStorm water Tax insurance , maintenance etc etc never mind a vehicle and transportation costs that they need due to this towns lousy transit sys. .
They are reverting to Reverse Mortgages as there are no newer decent apartments that have been built here in a very long time with reasonable rents .
With the exception of the Bolder Building on University west at William by the Sewage plant. The rents are all $2 k plus , out side parking , No balconies on a Noisy st and close to the train tracks and no small parks near by if you had a companion dog .
People are living longer and out living their savings .

Kevin
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Maybe I should get out more, maybe even out of Cobourg. If a retired person is living in a home they cannot afford (I have no doubts it happens) then the retired person has to make a decision. Reverse mortgage, downsize, get on a list for social housing, something. If, as you suggested, 50% of retired people qualify for social housing then what is the solution? Increase taxes for the working aged people to pay higher OAS? Government or not-for-profit social housing is expensive and takes years yo build as this post clearly shows.
We seem to agree there is a shortage of apartments for people to downsize to. The Balder building, with rents over $2000 per month, will not work for a retired person with less than $3000 income. But if that person sells their home and invests wisely to supplement their income it might work. The Balder building has some underground parking, likely for extra cost.
Perhaps the old high school playing field would make a suitable location for an apartment building for seniors who want/need to downsize.
Hopefully OAHS will complete the new building and manage it as well as Trinity Housing. We need more of these projects if the the units are RGI, market rent or a combination of both.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kevin
Sandpiper
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

When was the Last time that you received any proper Cost of Living Increases in your OAS or CPP etc.
These funds were established and forced down our throats for all of our working years and if you were self employed you paid the employer portion as well as the employee . Not like Govt and public service sectors or industry where a portion was paid by the employer and supported by the Tax payers for the public sector employers . These funds were to keep apace with inflation and insure a decent retirement for Canadian seniors This has not happened since the Feds Raided the fund a decade ago .

Dave
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

Kevin – I have been saying consistently on all of my postings that affordable housing is long overdue as well as commercial private rental buildings to be built. Nothing like competition and needed supply to meet demand to bring down the prices.

On seniors – many purchased their homes when raising their families. The houses have aged and many come up for major repairs such as foundation, full roof, brick caulking, windows as the retirement years are almost upon one.

If you look at what a straight pension to seniors offers at a combined $1200 a month CPP between spouses you will find there income from this source alone tops $3000 a month. That would be $600 to each. Most would be above the $3000 income but not by much. There are many seniors in Cobourg today who worked at local Cobourg jobs which were adequate for those times. Many wives only worked later, as small town living assisted in one to stay home for the initial child raising period, when the children were above 12 decreasing their years of input and hence what they draw on CPP.

As for selling their home for retirement income the big boom in real estate took place after many current seniors would have sold their home receiving much lower prices – $250 – $400,000. Certainly not the nest egg of todays real estate values. I know many that are struggling.

Dave
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Additionally Kevin there was a period where many companies laid off their older workers. Many never were able to obtain employment again that paid what their former position paid. Some were unable to get work at all. Hence they had no other choice but to claim their CPP early. 6% reduction for every year under 65. 60 being the first year for early CPP that would mean 30% reduction to their normal CPP at age 65. And so on from years 61, 24% to low of 6% if taken at 64. Many had to avail themselves of this option.

Kevin
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave and Sandpiper, sometimes in life none of the options are great. There are lots of people, retired or not, who struggle financially. Increasing CPP and/or OAS payments will help some but will not be enough for others. A 3% vacancy rate is a healthy situation from what I understand. Cobourg has had a much lower rate in recent years. Either we need more housing or fewer people. We know it takes years to plan and build housing, especially larger projects like this Trinity Housing expansion and the Balder building. Increasing government payments to seniors will put a greater tax burden on working age people. The retired people living in homes needing repairs they can’t afford have options. They may not like the options. Selling, renting out a room (there was support to create a legal secondary rental unit) or going back to work. There are people from Indian living in Cobourg and working at fast food places. Why not hire retired people to do these jobs? The retired person will have some more income and the employers will not have to bring more people to Cobourg which reduces demand for apartments. What do all these retired people want to happen? Wait for government to build housing? People to show up and put on a new roof? Greater government payments? CPP and OAS are meant to help in retirement. It is not my understanding that these programs are to completely cover all retirement costs.

Dave
1 month ago

Trinity Housing is a well managed complex, units in good repair, tenants blending into the community. Unlike what we see in Toronto under TCHC – government run. Units often in poor condition, some buildings even falling down, high crime areas spilling to surrounding neighbourhoods.
Much needed. There are many at RGI level struggling financially with the current rental situation and many above RGI The criteria for RGI is max $3000. income to qualify for a one bedroom. Incomes at $3200 under todays commercial rents standardly at $1650 – $1800 often plus utilities for a one bedroom would also find it a struggle yet there is very little housing in that category for them.

Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

This is the type of taxpayer funded housing I support as there are rules and expectations of employment. Those being coached to assume housing is their right with no conditions should be advised this is the route to go.

Sandpiper
1 month ago

Yes this is another Long overdue and Welcomed project 10 + tears in the making .
However as Clearly stated the Planning process and Costs of going through the Process along with carrying cost to date has once again made a Great and needed development
” more difficult than imagined ” Why is this one might ask ?
This group has a proven track record , experience .and Community acceptance as a
proven well managed Not For Profit operation Not at all like Transition House
There are many other such projects and property owners around town that would really
like an answer from Town Hall as to why the average Turn around time after Pre Consultation to
in the ground construction takes on average 5 Plus +++years many 25 years and 2 – 3 developers usually walk away all having lost $$ or given up as is the case here .

Doug Weldon
1 month ago

As per usual, thank you very much John Draper for the excellent information. You are the best source in Cobourg for all of us to find out what is going on in our town.

Thanks Great ! Doug

Kevin
1 month ago

Maybe I am completely out to lunch, and I’ve not finished breakfast yet, but I seem to recall this expansion being discussed around 2010. Regardless, 2018 was 6 years ago. By the time the units are ready to move in it will be a couple more years and could be about 10 years in total.

I found the information JD provided on RGI eligibility well done and interesting. THC and likely OAHS are examples of housing providers that are not government owned. The housing they provide is government, taxpayer, subsidized. It is a type of ‘affordable housing’ because rent depends on income. If these new units help anybody currently living in Cobourg or not will depend on who OAHS rents to. There will likely be no problem finding people who qualify if rented to people from Cobourg or not. Transition House helps people find more suitable housing so will likely be interested.

Downtowner
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

Thankfully, Trinity Housing has been proven to be a responsible landlord and provider of much needed affordable housing as well as conciesous of maintenance inside and out. Phase 2 ,l am expecting to reflect the efforts this far to offer safe, friendly, and monitored affordable housing.

Downtowner
1 month ago

Trinity housing has been a good neighbour for over 25 years.They have had their hiccups but for the most part issues are taken care of quickly .Tenants are held to a standard and there is a manager that takes community concerns under consideration.The proposal for this extension of affordable housing has been transparent from the beginning,since the adjacent property was purchased.As neighbours we were given opportunity to attend meetings and informative literature was distributed to each of our homes.This is one of the reasons the operators of Transition House,as is, feel so hostile to us as neighbours,there has never been this kind of confidence, transparency or respect in their operaton.I have no reason to believe the choice of operators will fail as l believe Trinity Housing has the community acceptance and appreciation at heart, as they have until now, in making this decision

Old Sailor
1 month ago

Sounds like another disaster decision slipped by Cobourg Council. We should engage Belleville Council to make decisions for Cobourg taxpayers!

Ken Strauss
1 month ago

OAHS is a corporation operating over 3,300 affordable housing units across Ontario, with a mandate to provide safe and affordable housing to urban and rural First Nation, Inuit and Métis people living off-reserve in Ontario

Does this mean that only “First Nation, Inuit and Métis people” are eligible to apply for housing in these new units? If so, how will Cobourg recoup their previous investment in Trinity Phase II for the benefit of all residents?

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
John Draper
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

As I noted in the post: “Gordon assured me that the new apartments will be available to ALL residents of Northumberland and not just the indigenous”. I communicated with Gordon via email.

Ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

What’s the problem Ken we have  “First Nation, Inuit and Métis people” in Cobourg who may need housing but as JD said if you had read the post properly instead of skimming to find points to disagree with you would made this comment redundant!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

Ben, taxpayer subsidized services should be available equally to all. Do you disagree? And, yes, I should have read more carefully.

Ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Of course I do Ken but how do you propose to house the more than 1000 people on the County’s waiting list

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

I’m confused, Ben. Nobody has mentioned the county’s wait list in this thread. How does advocating equal treatment for everyone relate to a wait list?