Midhurst/October 10, 2019 – The County of Simcoe today, in partnership with Redwood Park Communities, the David Busby Centre and the City of Barrie, celebrated the grand opening of Lucy’s Place, an innovative approach to addressing affordable housing for those experiencing chronic homelessness.
Lucy’s Place is an 18-unit supportive housing complex located in Barrie, Ontario. Two properties consisting of an old motel and adjacent home, were purchased by the County of Simcoe in 2017, with funding support from the Government of Ontario, and converted into Lucy’s Place through a unique, innovative and collaborative partnership between the County, Redwood Park Communities, the David Busby Centre and the City of Barrie.
In 2018, the County entered into a 25-year ground lease agreement with Redwood Park Communities, a non-profit organization with a mandate to build safe, affordable, and hopeful housing in a supportive environment. Redwood Park Communities oversaw the conversion, and the David Busby Centre is providing case management and 24/7 supports to the residents of the project through their Housing First philosophy and program.
In an effort to identify creative solutions to reach its 10-Year Affordable Housing targets, of creating 2,685 new affordable housing units and preventing homelessness in our communities between 2014-2024, the County hosted an Affordable Housing Innovations Forum in February 2017. The Forum brought together stakeholders from across the social housing system to learn about innovative new approaches to tackling affordable housing shortages in Simcoe County. The input received at this Forum served as the impetus for Simcoe County Council’s approval of the purchase of the properties for conversion. To-date, the County, in collaboration with area partners, has created more than 1,500 new affordable housing units, inclusive of the 18 units at Lucy’s Place.
The project was made possible due to the generosity of a number of levels of government, local businesses, organizations and individuals
The County of Simcoe purchased the properties in 2017 for $1,563,750 (including land transfer tax). The project was funded with a combination of Government of Ontario and County funds
The Government of Ontario approved up to $1,812,829 in capital funds for the project under the Home for Good program (HFG). HFG capital funds are provided as quarterly payments over twenty years
$853,000 was approved from the County of Simcoe’s Social Housing Reserve of which $248,000 will be reimbursed by the Home for Good (HFG) capital funds, leaving a net County of Simcoe investment of $605,000
The Government of Ontario is also providing HFG operating funds of $184,000 per year for support services, and approximately $140,000 in annual rent subsidies
The City of Barrie is contributing $152,115 to the project as a redevelopment grant from its 2018 Community Improvement Plan funds
Five of the units in the home are also funded through HFG and County funds with an additional sixth unit being made possible by a private donation
Lucy’s Place consists of a converted motel which now has 12 self-contained bachelor units, a common area, communal kitchen, and office/programming space. The adjacent home provides six additional units in a congregate style living arrangement where residents have their own bedroom and share kitchen and bathroom facilities
Clients residing at Lucy's Place have been experiencing extreme chronic homelessness
Redwood Park Communities and David Busby Centre collaborate to create a supportive community, with on-site supports provided 24/7
"Lucy’s Place is made possible due to opportunities created through community partnerships. Together we’re making an impact in our communities, and Lucy’s Place is a shining example of how collaborative efforts can lead to life-changing solutions. Thank you to Redwood Park Communities, the David Busby Centre, the Government of Ontario and the City of Barrie for working with us and making Lucy’s Place a reality."
~ Warden George Cornell, County of Simcoe
"Lucy's Place represents hope. It is a perfect example of what we can achieve when government and community work together. This is the type of innovation and collaboration that is needed to help address the complex social challenges we are facing."
~ Mayor Jeff Lehman, City of Barrie
"It has been an absolute honour to be part of this housing project, and we couldn't have done it without our donors, volunteers, and the trades, many of whom donated their skills or materials. It took us almost 18 months to build Lucy's Place, and the residents made it into a community within a matter of days - a true testament to the impact of safe, affordable, hopeful housing."
~ Tim Kent, Executive Director, Redwood Park Communities
"Busby Centre is honoured and proud to be a partner in this very important project. We believe that ending chronic homelessness in our community is possible and this project is a significant step toward our community effort to do so. Every person we meet has value and has a right to a safe and affordable home."
~ Sara Peddle, Executive Director, David Busby Centre
About County of Simcoe
County of Simcoe is composed of sixteen member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at simcoe.ca.
About Redwood Park Communities
Redwood Park Communities is building safe, affordable, hopeful housing in a supportive community. To learn more visit https://www.redwoodparkcommunities.com.
About David Busby Centre
The David Busby Centre is one of the lead organizations participating in actively bringing those solutions based and housing first best practices to our community. Visit https://www.busbycentre.ca.
About City of Barrie
Barrie is an exciting, caring and progressive community that 147,000 people call home. Situated 90 km north of the Greater Toronto Area on beautiful Kempenfelt Bay, Barrie offers an excellent life style and multitude of recreational opportunities. We are committed to the growth of prosperity of Central Ontario’s leading City and most dynamic waterfront community.
- 30 -
Manager, Public Relations
County of Simcoe, Service Simcoe Branch
Jennifer van Gennip
Director of Communications
Redwood Park Communities