Namerind Housing has big plans for a new affordable-housing development on Lorne Street in downtown Regina.
Robert Byers is the president and CEO of Namerind Housing Corporation which started in 1977 with a mandate to provide affordable housing for aboriginal people. Since then, it has expanded to provide housing for anyone in need and currently manages 450 homes in the city.
This week, Byers unveiled the first conceptual drawings for a 175-unit affordable housing apartment complex in downtown Regina. It would be a mixed-use development including two towers of apartments plus a daycare with space for 70 kids. The plans also include a 4,500 square foot grocery store and a 500-space parkade.
“It’s an aboriginal organization participating in the revitalization of downtown Regina,” Byers commented.
Several years ago, the company lost government funding so it had to change the model to be a sustainable social enterprise.
“We have a number of companies and the profits from that go back into supporting affordable housing,” Byers explained. “With the business that we have for this project, it would provide a certain amount of money back into affordable housing every year and as time goes on, that amount would continue to grow.”
The idea is to use revenue from parking and the grocery store to support the affordable-housing units.
The rent for affordable housing is based on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation definition. Currently, Namerind charges about $960 per month for a three-bedroom home and $775 for two bedrooms.
Demolition work is starting this week at the site of 1840 Lorne St. Byers expects that work to finish around January. He says the next stage will be to build a temporary parking lot that will operate for the next two years while the company finalizes plans for the full development.
The projected timeline for construction is 24 to 30 months, so the building could be ready to move into in about five years.