HOME­WORK

Ottawa Sun - New Homes - - HOMES -

A new af­ford­able hous­ing de­vel­op­ment is mak­ing waves in Belleville, On­tario, and the peo­ple be­hind it aren’t afraid to share their se­cret.

Bob Cot­trell is pres­i­dent of All-To­gether Af­ford­able Hous­ing, a non-profit agency with a mis­sion to find homes for vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple. Phil Spry is the owner of Springale De­vel­op­ment, a com­pany fo­cused on build­ing af­ford­able hous­ing. Bob and Phil’s dif­fer­ent business mod­els and sim­i­lar goals have gen­er­ated a unique part­ner­ship for their first ma­jor pro­ject to­gether.

“We share a lot of the same val­ues and share the same vi­sion for af­ford­able hous­ing in our com­mu­nity,” Bob ex­plains from All-To­gether Hous­ing’s Vic­to­rian red brick head­quar­ters.

“There are a lot of vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple who, through no fault of their own, are in a po­si­tion where they need help find­ing suit­able hous­ing,” says Phil. “A lot of [mar­ket-based] land­lords don’t look at the whole pic­ture,” he con­tin­ues. “I find it very sat­is­fy­ing to help pro­vide a solution for these peo­ple.”

Bob and Phil’s am­bi­tious new ven­ture is the Great Saint James Street pro­ject: a 32-unit de­vel­op­ment in the heart of Belleville. The units will in­cor­po­rate universal de­sign, en­sur­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity for res­i­dents with mo­bil­ity chal­lenges.

A re­tired teacher, Bob con­sid­ers projects like this a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of his work in the class­room.

“Much like the teach­ing ca­reer, you deal with quite a va­ri­ety of in­di­vid­u­als,” he says. “It is also very re­ward­ing to help our most vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens.”

The part­ners are work­ing with 5 com­mu­nity agen­cies, in­clud­ing the Cana­dian Men­tal Health Association, to help house in­di­vid­u­als in need of ad­di­tional sup­port and ser­vices.

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