Graham Cubitt, Indwell Director of Projects and Development speaking to Chatham-Kent Council, March 6, 2023. Photo courtesy of YourTV Chatham.

With a looming federal funding deadline, council approved moving ahead on an affordable housing project in Chatham.

Council voted in favour of putting forward $9.7 million in municipal funding to be used as a conditional commitment to leverage funding from the provincial and federal governments.

Indwell, a Christian charity that “creates affordable housing communities,” has proposed redeveloping the former St. Agnes school in Chatham, creating 95 affordable units across a variety of housing types while offering a spectrum of supports for residents. The supportive housing is seen as a bridge between homelessness and more independent living.

There was talk about deferring the project, but council approved having the municipality enter into a memorandum of understanding with Indwell, as well as submit an application to the Rapid Housing Initiative for the project by March 15.

April Rietdyk, Chatham-Kent’s General Manager of Community Human Services, admits there is a time crunch to move the project forward with the deadline just over a week away.

In deputations to council, neighbours stated they had concerns with the housing proposal, as they feel that it will cause a drop in property values and a potential of increased crime. They also had issues about the size of the project.

Graham Cubitt, director of projects and development with Indwell says the scope of the project has changed since the initial proposal.