Habitat Affordable Housing Project First Of Its Kind (VIDEO & GALLERY)

(Left to right) Pastor Eric Campbell, Warden Bill Weber, Dave Waters, Julie Jenkins, Nathan Colquhoun and Rob Vandenende at the site of the affordable seniors' housing project. April 11, 2018. (Photo by Colin Gowdy, Blackburn News)

Ground was broken Wednesday afternoon on a first of its kind project in Canada that will see Habitat for Humanity Sarnia-Lambton build affordable housing for seniors.

President Rob Vandenende says they’re partnering with the County of Lambton to build a five-unit seniors’ housing multiplex at 1140 Guthrie Dr. E.

He says the project will increase and enhance the local supply of affordable housing for seniors.

“We felt that we could use our resources to build homes for not only the five senior families but through our mortgage model, we’ll be keeping the homes in perpetuity,” says Vandenende. “So it’ll be the first five families [that benefit initially], but the project will continue to serve senior families for a long period of time.”

The ‘rent-to-own’ style means the transfer of title to the home is deferred for 20 years. When the senior exits the home after 20 years, Habitat will buy it back and re-sell the unit to another local senior family.

Construction for the $600,000 project begins April 16 with a completion date set for December 2018.

Nearly 500 volunteers are expected to help with fundraising and construction efforts.

Each 975 sq ft unit will feature two bedrooms, an open kitchen-dining-living room area and a laundry room. Eligible candidates must be over the age 60 and have an annual income between $24,000 and $36,000.

The development is the third Lambton Builds home building project and it meets the County of Lambton’s 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan.