Canadian charity converts Kitchener church into housing for people experiencing homelessness

More supportive housing is coming to Waterloo Region thanks to projects that convert churches and old buildings into apartments for those experiencing homelessness.

Indwell, a Canadian Christian charity, is tackling local housing issues with a unique approach, by repurposing old buildings into supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness in the region.

St. Mark’s Place is their latest project and indwells first foray into supportive housing in the region. the building has 43 units, a community space and kitchen, and onsite health support and services to help their tenants stay housed.

Mark Willcock, community engagement coordinator for Indwell, says they have plans to add even more housing to the region by repurposing existing buildings.

“We, at Indwell, love to find buildings that have had a previous life and a previous use, and are ready for another chapter, and take those spaces and convert them into housing,” said Willcock.

Rent for the units is set based on what their tenants receive from programs like the Ontario Disability Support Program, and the rates are set to start at $550 a month. Tenants can also choose to opt in to support programs and meal plans.

Indwell updates those buildings and converts them to meet passive house standards, a standard that claims to consume up to 90 per cent less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings.

“It allows us to convert buildings that are already existing in a community that are there and can be reused for a purpose that is needed in the community but also do them in such a way that is environmentally friendly for the long term,” added Willcock.

Indwell will add 80-plus supportive housing units to the region through two more projects they’re working on at St. Peters Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Kitchener and the old Grand River Hotel in Preston.

St Mark’s Place will host a grand opening on March 7 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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