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In support of affordable housing in the region

Kindred CEO Ian Thomas and director of values integration Ben Janzen see the MennoHomes project as a good fit.

Taking aim at the large backlog of Waterloo Region residents waiting for affordable housing, Kindred Credit Union has made a $250,000 contribution to MennoHomes’ latest project, a 48-unit building in Kitchener.

Through its “A Place to Call Home” campaign, MennoHomes is looking to raise $5 million towards the $12.7 million development on the former St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church site at Bridgeport Road and Lancaster Street. Eventually, the goal is to have 80 units.

With more than 6,000 households on the waiting list for affordable housing in the region, the need is great. Kindred’s partnership with MennoHomes underscores the credit union’s ongoing support for the issue .

“Our goal is to create housing that people can afford, that means housing that costs less than 30 per cent of their household income so that people have sufficient funds for other necessities of life, such as nutritious food and proper clothing,” said Dan Drieger, executive director at MennoHomes. 

Kindred chief executive director Ian Thomas notes that the credit union’s contribution to the project is part of its charitable grants program.

“Our relationship around this area of safe and affordable housing extends beyond MennoHomes. We’ve looked at all types of housing and care, whether it was with organizations like House of Friendship or Reception House, where it’s with new Canadians coming to the region, if it’s emergency shelters, with some of the various charities through our Kindred charitable grants program. So, it’s really looking at all the different housing options and needs along that continuum with one of our core businesses, which is residential lending,” said Thomas. 

Kindred and MennoHomes have a long history, with the current partnership bringing the relationship to the next level, said Ben Janzen, Kindred’s director of values integration.

“Since MennoHomes began, we’ve been a good friend and partner along the way – they’re coming up to 20 years of being in existence. Kindred has always been a friend of the organization and supported other projects along the way. And so, a couple of years ago, when they were starting to get some momentum in this project … we started to talk to them about what was going to be needed for it to come about,” Janzen explained. “We said this seems like a really good opportunity not just for us to support a project in general, but for us to step out and get more invested in what affordable housing looks like.”

The $250,000 contribution goes toward the $5-million community fundraising drive, which will augment $4.6 million in government funding and $3.1 million in mortgage financing for the project.

“Kindred’s purpose is cooperative banking that connects values and faith with finances, inspiring peaceful, just, and prosperous communities. And we believe that, first of all, this project is just one example or personification of how we live our purpose every day,” said Thomas of the credit union’s participation.

Other groups involved in the project include St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Parents for Community Living, Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support (MCRS), and Thresholds Homes and Supports.

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