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Partnership looks to aid the need for affordable housing

Building became a reality because of partnership between FirstOntario Credit Union, Penn Terra Group Limited and Bethlehem Housing
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ST. CATHARINES - Starting this week and throughout the month of June, 127 households will be moving into their new homes in downtown St. Catharines at 111 Church Street. Many of these individuals and families have endured tremendous hardships during these unprecedented times.

Inspired by a shared vision to provide a solution to the affordable housing crisis in Niagara, the Church Street building has become a reality because of a unique partnership between FirstOntario Credit Union, Penn Terra Group Limited and Bethlehem Housing and Support Services, along with the support of municipal and regional governments, and local community agencies.

“The vision to provide affordable housing in our community and the commitment of all involved is finally becoming a reality after more than five years of complicated hard work and steadfast leadership”, said Lori Beech, Executive Director of Bethlehem Housing and Support Services. “This is a story about how an innovative partnership, pure will, perseverance and passionate commitment made the probability of almost impossible…happen.”

In Niagara Region, the need for affordable housing is real with more than 5,500 households on the wait-list.

“The new North Church Court building shows that there is a way to make a meaningful contribution in our community,” said Sunil Bahadoorsingh, Founder and CEO of Penn Terra Group Limited. “Our dynamic team developed a replicable model to address problems identified with affordable housing in the past, without compromising on the dual goals of quality and affordability. Hopefully many more units will be built in the near future.”

“It’s our responsibility as a credit union, to invest our profits in the needs of the communities where our Members and neighbours live and work,” said Lloyd Smith, CEO of FirstOntario Credit Union. “We recognized there was a need for affordable housing in the Niagara Region so we came together in partnership to help provide a homegrown solution and make the dreams of this secure, family-friendly community development a reality.”

Many organizations and individuals have contributed to this development project and have worked to ensure that the new tenants have a comfortable, healthy and safe space to call home.

“We would like to acknowledge our project manager, WSP, as well as the construction crew under the direction of our general contractor, Solid Construction, for their leadership, and thank all of the supporting trades workers and companies who have worked tirelessly to get us to finish line, particularly given the additional challenges presented by the pandemic,” said Lori Beech. “After five years of hard work it is great to see it become a reality.”