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Place of Pride: Affordable housing for the 55+ 2SLGBTQ+ community

June 1, 2023
min read

Place of Pride is a new affordable housing complex and community hub that’s currently under development. It will be a safe place for older adults to live as their authentic selves.

Place of Pride construction render

For those who rely on social assistance, have disabilities, or are low-income, finding affordable housing is challenging enough.

But for those who are 55+ and part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, there are even more barriers to finding a safe, welcoming, and inexpensive place to live.

Place of Pride, a new project that’s currently being developed in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood, will be Canada’s first affordable housing complex for 2SLGBTQ+ older adults.

2SLBGTQ+ stands for Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people who identify as part of sexual and gender-diverse communities.

While the project already received government funding and donor support, Westminster Housing Society (developer of the building in partnership with the Rainbow Resource Centre and long-time Cambrian member) didn’t yet have enough to cover the total construction costs.

Cambrian is proud to partner with Westminster Housing Society in realizing Place of Pride.

“Cambrian helped bridge a funding gap that was caused by rising building costs,” says Ryan Lobson, Senior Commercial Relationship Manager at Cambrian.

“This is an exciting project that will ultimately have a positive impact on our community.”

Cambrian is proud to finance projects that make a difference in our community. We spoke with Mary Agnes Welch, the Board Chair at Westminster Housing Society, to learn about how this project came together and what it means for Winnipeg:

People standing beside a Cambrian sign

The Westminster Housing Society (WHS)

WHS is a registered charity that provides quality housing to low-income tenants at rental rates they can afford, which helps to address housing issues in the community.

Since their inception in 1995, Cambrian has worked alongside WHS in acquiring, rehabilitating, and building affordable housing within our community. We have been their partner from the very beginning on nearly every one of their 30 properties.

“We renovate older homes in the area and turn them into good-quality apartments that people can afford,” says Mary Agnes.

Place of Pride, an entirely new building, is the organization’s biggest and most ambitious project so far. Many of the 21 units will be subsidized, and many tenants will also have Rent Assist, which makes the units affordable for those with low income.

“There is a significant need for inexpensive housing in Winnipeg, especially places that are comfortable and welcoming to 2SLGBTQ+ people,” says Mary Agnes.

About Place of Pride

Place of Pride will give people who are 55+ a home where they can live as their authentic selves, don’t need to hide who they are, and can live comfortably.

WHS is partnering with Rainbow Resource Centre on this project, an organization that provides programming, advocacy, and education to the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Once the build is complete, WHS will manage the housing operations at Place for Pride. The units will be affordable for those who may rely on social assistance, have disabilities, or are low-income with small pensions.

“We want Place of Pride to be more than just housing—it will be a place with supports and services but also a place where anybody can gather with friends or celebrate a joyful event,” says Mary Agnes.

Rainbow Resource Centre will occupy the main floor of the apartment building and use that space to provide services and supports to tenants and to Winnipeg’s queer community.

There are even plans to open a small coffee shop and install a full kitchen.

Rainbow recently moved into the historic Wilson House right next to the apartment building, and the next phase of the project is construction of a connection between the two buildings to create a complete community campus.

“A home is more than just walls and doors. It’s about all the things around it—the sense of community and the support services readily available if something goes wrong,” says Mary Agnes.

How Place of Pride came together

The project was started through a three-way partnership between several organizations:

  • The West Broadway Community Organization, which supports economic development in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood.
  • The Rainbow Resource Centre, which offers social support and programming for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
  • And Westminster Housing Society, acting as the developer and housing manager.

Originally, the West Broadway Community Organization owned the land on Broadway at Good Street where Place of Pride is now being built.

The community organization saw a huge need for affordable housing in the community, and an opportunity came up to redevelop the land and tap into new federal housing funding.

Building on existing relationships, Rainbow Resource Centre acquired the parcel and partnered with Westminster Housing Society as the housing developer and manager.

“Our goal is to offer supportive housing that will keep tenancies successful, whether that’s helping people get Rent Assist or setting them up with programming at Rainbow Resource Centre,” says Mary Agnes.

Once the project received $5 million in funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative, construction kicked off—but there was still a lack of funding to cover all the building costs while fundraising was underway.

With financing from Cambrian, WHS was able to fully fund Place of Pride. The goal is to have tenants move in by March 2024.

Construction of Place of Pride

Reinvesting in our community

As a financial cooperative, the values of Westminster Housing Society align closely with our own. WHS is directly addressing housing issues in the city, helping people in our communities who need it most, and making Winnipeg a better place for everyone.

Cambrian is located right here in Manitoba, and we believe in partnering with other local organizations in our community. That’s the credit union difference—because when you bank locally, you support local organizations, too.

You can take out a commercial mortgage in Winnipeg with Cambrian to finance your next property locally. To set up an appointment, contact us today!

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