Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CCOC Housing Pays Off

This 1975 issue of the Centretown News reported on the very first building purchased by what would grow to become the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation, which owns nearly 50 properties worth over $80 Million, providing affordable housing to over 2000 people.

As their history page explains (though I think it's a bit out of date), the CCOC started as an offshoot of one of the two groups that later merged into the CCCA. Irving Greenberg (of Minto development fame and brother of former Ottawa mayor Lorry Greenberg) was president of the CCOC at the time that they got their first grant and loan to buy and repair the rowhouse at 530-540 McLeod (at Percy).

35 years later, that loan is now paid off and the CCOC can now use the rental income from this property to invest in more affordable housing for Ottawa. The CCOC celebrated their first "Mortgage Burning Party" yesterday:

542-544 McLeod, right next door, was purchased soon after, and the mortgage for that one was paid off recently as well. Here's a photo I took of it in summer 2009, when the front balcony was being replaced:

Google Street View, whose cars went around Ottawa in Spring 2009, gives a recent-past look at the old balcony:

I printed out a copy of the newspaper page above and brought it to the party, and it was a very welcome surprise! Unfortunately, I had another engagement to get to, so I literally had just enough time to say hello and leave. And snap one quick photo:

Over the years, the CCOC has continued buying properties and building their own. The newest is the Beaver Barracks complex. Of the five buildings under construction, two are already complete. A number of us bloggers were invited to come out to take photos of the new digs. Mine are still in the sorting pile, but others have posted photos, Eric Darwin of West Side Action perhaps chief among them.

The affordable housing provided by CCOC is one of the reasons Centretown's population is so diverse, and its non-profit, volunteer-driven nature is one of the reasons that Centretown residents are so engaged in making this a liveable neighbourhood.

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