Monday, April 26, 2021: Traditional Territories of multiple Indigenous Nations, including the Haudenosaunee and the Treaty Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit/Toronto, ON – The Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT) and the Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB) today announced the acquisition of an at-risk low-rent residential building containing 36 apartments in Parkdale, Toronto in an effort to help protect the area’s affordable rental stock. Over the past decade, Parkdale has lost 28 rooming houses to gentrification and renoviction, displacing nearly 350 renters, and this move signals growing momentum from the PNLT in implementing community-driven solutions to the housing crisis. With this acquisition the land trust has grown its community ownership in the area from 15 to 51 units of affordable rental housing – equivalent to a 240% increase.
“Community land ownership models empower communities to make important decisions about their neighbourhoods that result in tangible impacts. Keeping Parkdale open and accessible to everyone is a priority and that’s why we are protecting and preserving our existing affordable housing stock,“ said Joshua Barndt, Executive Director of the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust.
The acquisition of the at-risk three-storey building was made possible through VCIB’s Preserve and Protect Guarantee Program, which was launched by the bank in October 2020. Through the program, VCIB accepts and holds funds from values-aligned investing organizations in an Impact GIC, which are then used to guarantee loans to the PNLT for the purpose of rapidly acquiring at-risk affordable rental properties in Parkdale. In this case, VCIB was able to provide an $8.5 million acquisition facility to the PNLT, supported by over $2.6M in guarantees put forward by investors, including local foundations.
“While all levels of government have mandates to tackle the affordable housing crisis, currently there are no municipal, provincial or federal programs that specifically support the acquisition and conversion of existing rental housing into permanently affordable housing. As a result, the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust has turned to impact investors to support our community to preserve and protect affordable housing before it is gone,” shared Joshua Barndt.
VCIB’s Managing Director of Commercial Impact Banking, Trish Nixon, said: “Community is in our name, and supporting organizations, like the PNLT, who are working on the ground to implement community-led solutions is core to VCIB’s values. We are committed to helping the PNLT meet its goal to preserve and protect 100 affordable units in at-risk rooming houses and apartment buildings by 2025. We are delighted to see our Preserve and Protect Guarantee Program in action as it supports the PNLT to safeguard Parkdale’s affordable rental housing.”
“Protecting the current supply of affordable rental housing is a key part of the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, and one of most immediate and efficient ways to help address the significant affordability challenge we face in this city. The acquisition of this at-risk three-storey building is not only preserving affordable rental housing but also demonstrates the value of investors and community land trusts working together,” said Abi Bond, Executive Director of the City of Toronto’s Housing Secretariat.
Joshua Barndt continued: “The COVID-19 pandemic has particularly highlighted the importance of secure housing. We are sharing this victory in the hope that more foundations and institutional investors, like VCIB, will support the important work of community land trusts, like the PNLT.”
As Canada’s first and only values-driven bank, VCIB is committed to creating innovative financing solutions that support the delivery and preservation of affordable housing across Canada. In November 2020, VCIB announced with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation that it would finance up to $100 million towards affordable housing initiatives across Canada – VCIB’s work with the PNLT is one way the bank is realizing this commitment.
About the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust
The Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT) is a community land trust in Parkdale led by a group of residents and organizations trying to protect the social, cultural and economic diversity of Parkdale by redefining how land is used and developed. The Neighbourhood Land Trust is the charitable arm of the PNLT. Through the community land trust model, PNLT and NLT will acquire land and use it to meet the needs of Parkdale by leasing it to non-profit charitable partners who can provide affordable housing, supportive housing and community economic development.
About Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB)
VCIB is an Ontario-based schedule 1 federally chartered bank and a subsidiary of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union. As Canada’s first values-driven bank, VCIB provides banking, investing, and financing solutions designed to help our partners — purpose-driven businesses and organizations — thrive, grow, and foster change. Additionally, VCIB offers specialized financing solutions for social purpose real estate and clean energy projects. VCIB is a certified B Corporation and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. To learn more about our partnership-based approach to banking, visit vcib.ca, tweet us at @BankVancity and connect with us on LinkedIn.