Seventh-Day Adventists and City Of Toronto Partner Up to Build Affordable Housing|
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The Seventh-day Adventist Church and the City of Toronto announced today plans
to develop a proposal to create approximately 30 to 60 rental townhouses that
will be affordable to lower income families through the City's Let's Build!
We'd like to find a way to say thank you to Toronto," said Kermit Netteburg,
Church spokesperson. The Adventist Church just completed its 57th World Session
on Sunday. It was the largest convention in Toronto history. "People here were
incredibly kind and helpful," he added.
The City of Toronto launched the Let's Build! program last October to address
the severe housing shortage and to spur new residential construction in the
city. The program focuses on long-term affordable housing solutions.
This partnership is exactly what the City hoped for when they established the
Lets Build! program," said Councillor Brad Duguid, chair of Toronto City
Council's Community Services Committee. "I'm encouraged by today's announcement
and hope other organizations will follow in the footsteps of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church. Everyone deserves a home."
"Affordable housing is essential for all communities," said Derrick Nichols,
president of the Ontario Seventh-day Adventist Conference. "I'm pleased that we
can participate in such an important initiative for Toronto."
Let's Build! provides non-profit community groups and private developers
incentives such as financial assistance and potential development sites to
build affordable housing. The initiative announced today is one of several
proposals now being reviewed by city staff.
Several Seventh-day Adventist agencies and entities have expressed interest in
being involved in the project. Maranatha Volunteers International is an
Adventist-related entity that has built thousands of churches, schools,
hospitals, clinics, and housing projects around the world.
Maranatha's volunteer construction people are primarily skilled craftsmen who
take vacation time to build projects from a few days each year to several
months in a row. Many are retired builders, electricians and carpenters. These
volunteers and others from the Greater Toronto Area will work on the project
with Toronto area construction contractors.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency/Ontario will provide project
leadership. The humanitarian agency is part of a worldwide network that
oversees more than $100 million in development projects.
The potential housing complex would include a community centre that would help
residents with seminars that teach lifestyle skills. "Adventists want to
improve the quality of life for people," said Netteburg.
"There are still a lot of details to nail down, such as site location," said
Mark Guslits, special advisor, housing development services for the City of
Toronto. "But we wanted to make this announcement while the good feeling that
the delegates who attended the Adventists' business session left behind is
still with us."