Skip to content

Evergreen report: non-profit and private partnerships key to housing innovation

Study outlines lessons learned from new approaches
to new housing and community development in Canada

TORONTO, ONTARIO (July 20, 2017) – A new report released by Evergreen demonstrates how partnerships between non-profit housing providers and private sector companies are key to delivering new or redeveloping existing social housing across the country. Scaling Up Joint Ventures between Social Housing Providers and Private Sector Builders reviews 12 collaborative projects in selected Canadian cities, providing best practices that can be implemented in future developments. The paper was prepared by Tim Welch Consulting in partnership with Evergreen. The research was supported by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

“There has never been a better time for joint ventures to deliver the housing we need to create complete communities across the country,” said Michelle German, Evergreen Senior Manager of Policy and Partnerships and co-author of the report. “This research fills an important gap in operational co-investment arrangements in Canada, showcasing a substantial opportunity to address the need for more affordable housing – a key component to creating flourishing cities.”

Non-profit housing built over the past decade has been undertaken most often by single entities working in relative isolation. The report illustrates the potential of non-profit and for-profit collaborations through 12 collaborative developments between home builders or renovators and social housing providers in Winnipeg, MB, Calgary, AB, Vancouver, BC, Markham, ON, Brampton, ON, Richmond Hill, ON and Toronto, ON.

The case studies outline the benefits of combining the unique assets and expertise of each non-profit and private sector company, the lessons learned via interviews with key stakeholders involved, and next steps in how to scale up joint ventures for future collaborations.

“Through our conversations with non-profit housing providers and private sector companies, it is encouraging to see an increased willingness to work together,” said Tim Welch, Principal at Tim Welch Consulting and co-author of the report. “Each project demonstrates a desire to develop innovative approaches to ensure more affordable housing in future.”

This new approach is in line with recent support at the government level to commit more to build new non-profit housing, expand mixed-income residential developments and renovate the existing social housing stock. The National Housing Fund, announced earlier this year by the federal government, aims to support greater collaboration through its new “co-investment fund” to pool resources among many housing partners, including governments, the private sector and community organizations, to prioritize large-scale community renewal projects.

Some of the featured projects include:

  • The multi-phase redevelopment of Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s (TCHC) Alexandra Park in Toronto, ON is a joint venture between the municipal non-profit TCHC and for-profit developer Tridel Corporation. In exchange for selling portions of the existing site to Tridel (who will construct more than 1,500 market units), TCHC will replace 333 of its existing rental units and refurbish an additional 473. Proceeds from the sale of land will also go towards constructing new amenities such as a public park, larger community centre and create new connector streets through the site. Additional retail space will also be added.
  • Richmond Hill Hub in Richmond Hill, ON is a 202-unit apartment building with a community hub and social enterprise space, constructed under a design-build collaboration between York Region Housing and Van Mar Constructors. Under this approach, Van Mar was responsible for obtaining a suitable property and all required development approvals, the design of the building and site works and constructing the building and site works to the approved drawings. York Region Housing provided capital funding for the building as well as input on the design and building specifications. Once completed, York Region Housing assumed ownership and operation.
  • Alice Bissett Place in Calgary, AB is a three-storey, 114 unit apartment building built in 2009 by a partnership of three organizations: the Calgary Home Builders Foundation, the Calgary Homeless Foundation and the Horizon Housing Society. The apartment building boasts energy efficient solar panels, a landscaped exterior and 12 fully accessible units. In 2013, Alice Bissett Place was awarded Building of the Year (101+ Units) by the Calgary Residential Rental Association.

For a list of key findings and all case studies, download the report at:

← See more News Releases