By March 2017, co-ops had borrowed nearly $60 million through CHF Canada’s Refinancing Program. Here are some of their stories:
Oak Street Housing Co-operative
No. of units: 149
Amount of loan: $7.5 million
Approved: December 2016
Location: Toronto, Ont.
Oak Street Co-op in downtown Toronto received the largest refinancing loan completed to date through our Refinancing Program. The 149-unit housing co-op secured a $7.5-million loan from Alterna Savings Credit Union, which will be used to pay out the co-op’s existing CMHC mortgage, renovate kitchens and bathrooms, and replace elevators, appliances, windows and doors.
The upgrades will improve members’ quality of life; they will support accessibility and aging in place, issues that Oak Street takes very seriously. The program has been described as an excellent example of the benefits of building partnerships within the co-operative movement.
Newfie Housing Co-operative
No. of units: 12
Amount of loan: $350,000
Approved: December 2016
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
This small co-op has big plans for its $350,000 refinancing loan, received through League Savings and Mortgage. Emily Stewart, Co-operative administrator with the Community Housing Management Network, says Newfie will be renovating and updating all 12 kitchens and floors throughout the co-op. “Our units are all from the 1970s and are in need of a major refurbish. The kitchens are very basic, and lack any natural light. The members are really looking forward to their new and improved surroundings – especially their brighter kitchens!”
Newfie also used CHF Canada’s Asset Management Services throughout the refinancing process; they recently received an updated Asset Management Plan (AMP). The renovations coupled with the newly minted AMP will ensure Newfie Co-op has a bright future for years to come.
Eileen Tallman Co-operative Homes Inc.
No. of units: 60
Amount of loan: $3 million
Approved: May 2015
Location: Ottawa, Ont.
Located in Ottawa’s west end, Eileen Tallman Co-operative Homes secured a $3-million mortgage with Your Credit Union to replace aging siding, repair balconies and upgrade fencing.
Throughout the renovations, the co-op used CHF Canada’s Asset Management Services. According to co-op president Maxine Lewis, it saved them a lot of hassle. “CHF Canada was very helpful throughout the work phase of the renovations. The project manager acted as our ‘go between’ so we didn’t have to do all that stuff, which is a big headache if you’re not used to dealing with contractors and bids.” The co-op now boasts serious curb appeal and is getting set to start the next phase of the interior renovation work in the coming year.
Phoenix Housing Co-operative Inc.
No. of units: 59
Amount of loan: $1.6 million
Approved: February 2015
Location: London, Ont.
In the words of Phoenix office co-ordinator Tanya Taylor-Caron, participating in CHF Canada’s Refinancing Program was a “no-brainer.” The program not only meant improved housing units for their members, it also helped the co-op save money on its mortgage – to the tune of an estimated $17,000 in annual mortgage interest.
“The members here are ecstatic because they are getting a lot of new, important things with no increase in housing charges,” says Taylor-Caron. “If we hadn’t refinanced, it would have taken 25 years in incremental improvements to cover everything needed according to our building condition assessment.”
The co-op’s $1.6-million refinancing loan from Libro Credit Union let Phoenix buy out the remaining five years on its CMHC mortgage and pay for new windows, high-efficiency furnaces, lighting and siding.
Windfield Co-operative Homes
No. of units: 70
Amount of loan: $3.8 million
Approved: July 2014
Location: Guelph, Ont.
Thanks to CHF Canada’s Refinancing Program, Windfield Co-operative Homes has completed major renovations, including new roofs, kitchens and bathrooms. Renovations have already been completed in two demonstration units, and the co-op now has a waiting list instead of empty units.
Hubtown Housing Co-operative Ltd.
No. of units: 20
Amount of loan: $860,000
Approved: June 2014
Location: Truro, N.S.
Hubtown is the first housing co-op in Nova Scotia to take advantage of the Refinancing Program. The co-op’s $860,000 refinancing deal through League Savings and Mortgage allowed it to pay off its CMHC mortgage and complete renovations that had begun earlier with provincial funding.
The work varied amongst the co-op’s mix of townhomes, apartments and an older detached home. It included rewiring, siding replacements, driveway replacements, parking improvements, sewer piping and new roofs.
Hubtown member and past-president Colin Boxall co-ordinated the co-op’s work on the refinancing. He said the project was a lot of work, but he and the members are happy with the results.
Cahiague Co-operative Homes Inc.
No. of units: 48
Amount of loan: $2.6 million
Approved: June 2014
Location: Brantford, Ont.
With a $2.6 million loan from Alterna Savings, the co-op quickly got to work refreshing and updating its 48 units. Windows, doors, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring as well as repairs to exterior drainage and roadways were among the items included in the first phase of renovations.
“We have worked so hard to get to the point where we are able to start on this adventure,” said Cahiague manager Donna Stewart about the planned improvements to the co-op’s 30-year-old homes. She said members were excited about the long-awaited replacements to both interior and exterior features.
Mondragon Co-operative Homes Inc.
No. of units: 78
Amount of loan: $4.5 million
Approved: January 2014
Location: Brampton, Ont.
Mondragon Co-op Homes is one of the first co-ops to refinance its mortgage through the CHF Canada program. The co-op signed a $4.5-million agreement with Alterna Savings to pay off its CMHC mortgage and finance $2.5 million in renovations. The money allowed Mondragon to replace and repair roofs, furnaces and walkways as well as to modernize the inside of members’ homes.
“Our members are happy that we will have a renovated co-op that will continue to be a great place for people to live,” said Mondragon president Murray Eaton. “We were worried that some of these aging homes were beginning to fall apart, but now we don’t have that worry anymore.”
Venture Place Housing Co-operative Inc.
No. of units: 102
Amount of loan: $4.3 million
Approved: September 2013
Location: Windsor, Ont.
Venture Place Housing Co-op was the first housing co-operative in Canada to be refinanced through our Refinancing Program. The co-op negotiated a $4.3-million loan with Motor City Community Credit Union. Of that amount, $2.6 million was used to pay off an existing CMHC mortgage; $1.6 million was used on a new roof, new parking lots, renovations to the parking garage and balcony waterproofing.
The payments on its new mortgage are nearly $9,000 a month less than what the co-op was previously paying. In all, the co-op expects to save $107,000 in mortgage payments, which can be redirected towards additional improvements.