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Affordable housing one step closer as shovels hit ground on Veterans' House

Located at the former CFB Rockcliffe airforce base, the 40-unit building will become home for homeless veterans.

Affordable housing for those who gave so much to their country will soon become a reality in Ottawa. 

On Tuesday, shovels went into the ground for Veterans' House at the site of the CFB Rockcliffe airforce base on Mikinak Road. 

The idea for providing homes for homeless Canadian veterans came from those at the Multifaith Housing Initiative, it was then supported by former soldier and Orleans Member of Parliament Andrew Leslie as well as late Ottawa-Vanier MP Mauril Belanger about five years ago, and was eventually picked up by Belanger's replacement MP Mona Fortier.

"As a former serving member, I understand the value of putting a safe, secure and affordable place to call home for our veterans that need an extra hand," said Leslie in a statement. 

Multifaith Housing Initiative took the reigns and started fundraising for the land and the building. 

The city of Ottawa has waved over $1,100 in development charges and the federal government has pledged $6.5-million for the construction of Veterans' House. 

"So the whole project is $11.5-million to build, the government announced $6.5-million today," explained Multifaith Housing Initiative Executive Director Suzanne Le. "We are in a capital campaign to raise the remainder. We have done about $2.5-million in fundraising and we have another $2.5-million to go." 

The 40-unit complex, which will be called Veterans' House: The Andy Carswell Building, is slated to open in November 2020. 

At least eight of the units will be fully accessible and all common areas will be completely barrier-free. 

Ottawa Salus will also be on-site providfing counselling and support services for the Veterans. 

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