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.