A Parkdale charitable organization has purchased a heritage building that will provide low-income housing for nearly 40 tenants.
Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC), which works with members on issues of poverty and mental health, has successfully acquired the building at 1501 Queen Street West in Parkdale, a neighbourhood where the organization estimates 90% of residents are renters and more than 30% of people live in poverty. The purchase of the building, which was built was in 1912, brought PARC's portfolio to operating 110 supportive housing units.
PARC says increasing renovictions and mounting development pressures in the neighbourhood have "aggressively" begun to alter the fabric of Parkdale. Tenants are being priced out and landlords are selling to developers and international investors. When this happens, PARC says there is nowhere for residents to go and local community benefits are lost.
Through the purchase of the building, PARC says it intends to "prevent the displacement of tenants out of the existing affordable housing stock, and to preserve and protect affordable housing for low-income residents."
The building, a three-storey brownstone, is located right next door to the PARC office, 1499 Queen Street West and was designed to mirror its neighbour, Edmond Place at 194 Dowling Avenue, which the organization also owns and manages.
“For PARC, the acquisition of more housing carries profound meaning, as our goals are set with the purpose of ensuring safe, adequate, well-maintained, dignified homes for the people in our community," said Victor Willis, Executive Director of PARC. "Since we served our first cups of coffee in 1980, PARC has evolved immensely, but our vision for the health and well-being of those who live here remains constant.”
Through the acquisition, current residents will be able to remain in place and experience the benefits of becoming PARC members, which includes meal, employment, and health-related programs.
"Starting with the purchase of 1499 Queen Street West, in 1991, we have purchased or developed five housing facilities, offering affordable and supportive housing units."