Mission accomplished! Thanks to generous donations from OGHC Members and Friends, faith-based organizations, and our consultants, and indirect support from The Winnipeg Foundation, OGHC has raised over $200,000 to ensure that very-low-income households can enjoy the benefits of living in our co-operative community.
Early on, OGHC committed itself to creating an inclusive, mixed-income co-operative. We wanted to welcome members from different cultures, ages, and family compositions, with differing degrees of mobility, and offer safe, supportive housing to individuals whose financial circumstances put decent housing out of reach. Our tangible commitment to these values led the Manitoba government to approve our proposals to build on the former Old Grace Hospital site.
Thirty-four of our suites are reserved for households whose incomes fall below a level set by the Manitoba government. Thirteen of these are reserved for households whose income is even lower and who qualify for Rent Supplement or Rent Assist from the Manitoba government to be able to afford their housing.
Because OGHC was committed to providing this housing, the province loaned us $2.8-million and leased us the land at no cost. If OGHC continues to meet its commitment for 20 years, it does not have to pay it back.
The $2.8-million permitted OGHC to reduce the share prices for the 34 households by an average of $70,000 per suite. For households with access to assets (parental or sponsor support, equity in a house or condo), the share price (though high in comparison to other Winnipeg co-ops) was manageable. That was not the case however with the majority of the 13 households receiving rent supplement.
So, we had to raise money – quite a lot of money – to reduce their share prices even further or abandon the vision of a mixed-income community.
Our Share Sponsorship fundraising efforts began in 2015. We knocked on a lot of doors without success, until, in December 2016, the Winnipeg Foundation agreed to match up to $55,000 in funding to charitable organizations that would provide funding for low-income housing at OGHC.
In short order, we secured commitments from the Mennonite Central Committee (Manitoba) and All Saints Anglican Church totalling $84,000. This money was used to fund the shares for several newcomer families and helped clear the way for us to add back the cost of the second elevator to our project budget.
Our next goal was to create a fund that could be used to help offset the share costs for members who may not have access to the assets that would permit full-price share payment. Raising this money took another three years—again having to knock on many, many doors. With the support of All Saints, St Margaret’s, and the Winnipeg Meeting of The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) the goal was achieved.
We also applied for many grants and sponsorships and raised a further $120,000 that way – funds that went toward costs of the courtyard and landscaping, wheelchair lift, Peg City van, common kitchen appliances, energy modelling study and WiBand installation.
Our efforts have also led to recognition beyond our walls. Blair Hamilton of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada has said:
The dogged commitment to find a way to have an inclusive, non-token, mixed income community is a defining feature of Old Grace.
While the fundraising team has concluded its efforts, OGHC may receive small additions from our sponsors, bequests, etc.
Thank you for your generosity: the OGHC fundraising team:
Shirley Lord (past President), Glenn Morison, and Sandra Hardy