The following press release was issued today (February 24, 2021) by the London Community Foundation. Learn more about the Vision SoHo Alliance.

Local nonprofit housing developers respond to City’s urgent need for affordable housing

(London, ON, Feb 24, 2021) – The Vision SoHo Alliance, a newly formed partnership between six nonprofit housing developers announced today its commitment to purchase the vacant Old Victoria Hospital lands to develop a vibrant mixed-use housing complex that will help increase the supply of affordable housing in our community.

With a 3.4% vacancy rate, and COVID-19 increasing the urgency of London’s housing crisis, the need for more affordable housing in our community is greater than ever. Recognizing this need, London Community Foundation (LCF) convened the Vision SoHo Alliance, a group of local nonprofit affordable housing developers working together to create a mixed-use housing development on the old Victoria Hospital Lands site. The Alliance includes Indwell, Zerin Development Corporation, Homes Unlimited, Chelsea Green Home Society, London Affordable Housing Foundation, and the Italian Seniors’ Project.

The mixed-use development will enhance the SoHo neighbourhood and prioritize livability and sustainability through environmentally friendly building, green space, retail space, underground parking and accessibility to public transit. Units will range in affordability, with some being market rate and others at affordable rates. In addition, some of the affordable units will offer wrap around supports for residents seeking health, wellness and belonging.

While each developer will be responsible for their own unique building, by working together as an alliance with complementary development, they will create a vibrant addition to the SoHo neighbourhood.

The focus area for the development is the Old Victoria Hospital Lands Part II which includes 124 Colborne Street, as well as the lands bounded by Waterloo Street, South Street, Colborne Street and Hill Street.

To advance this project, the developers provided $60,000 in start up funding which was matched by LCF. Members of the Alliance are also eligible to receive financing from LCF’s Affordable Housing Fund for additional development related costs. Once plans and financing are in place, the Alliance is looking to start development as soon as the City gives its approval.

“This development is an innovative community-wide response to one of our city’s most pressing social issues. We can accomplish so much more when we collaborate and we believe this model has the potential to be replicated at the local, regional and national level.” – Greg Playford, LCF’s Housing Action Committee

“The Vision SoHo Alliance of non-profit housing developers is able to move quickly to help reduce London’s housing crisis that extends to both market and affordable housing residents in a low vacancy housing market. The members are motivated to construct financially sustainable developments to maximize the benefits for the community in partnership with the City of London.”  – Sylvia Harris, Chair of the Vision SoHo Alliance Leadership Group

About London Community Foundation

London Community Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to improving communities across London and Middlesex County through collaboration, strategic leadership, and innovative solutions to charitable giving. By investing gifts in perpetuity, the Foundation ensures the long-term vitality of our community. Belonging to a network of over 191 Community Foundations across Canada and over 1800 community foundations around the world, our movement works to make an impact – locally, nationally, and globally.

Learn more about the Vision SoHo Alliance.