Ottawa Community Land Trust Launches Community Bond to Preserve Affordable Housing in Canada’s Capital

Published May 21, 2024

The Community Land Trust aims to raise $1.72M with a two-fold affordable housing mandate: refinance the acquisition of its current property and establish a revolving fund to purchase at least two additional multi-unit residential properties

OTTAWA / Traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg Nation, May 21, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ottawa Community Land Trust (OCLT), a non-profit social enterprise with a vision to make affordable housing accessible to all, proudly launches the Housing Forever Bond campaign. With a goal to raise $1.72M million in community bonds, OCLT aims to preserve affordable housing in Canada’s capital city.

Capital raised from OCLT’s Housing Forever Bonds will serve a dual purpose: first, to refinance the land trust’s inaugural non-profit housing project located at 887 Kirkwood, and second, to establish a revolving fund. This fund will enable the acquisition of at least two additional multi-unit residential properties by the end of 2024, thus expanding and strengthening community non-profit ownership within Ottawa’s housing landscape.

Community bonds are a proven social finance tool that allow individuals and organizations to invest in impactful projects, while earning a financial return. With investment minimums as low as $1,000 and interest rates up to 4.5%, Housing Forever Bonds are designed to appeal to a wide range of investors, from local Ottawa residents to businesses, organizations and foundations across Canada. Investors can choose from four bond series, including a 0% return option for value-driven investors wishing to donate the interest earnings back to OCLT.

Mike Bulthuis, Executive Director at Ottawa Community Land Trust says, “Tackling the housing emergency requires collective action. By rallying community support and pooling resources through Housing Forever Bonds, we can preserve affordability and address the housing crisis facing Ottawa. We encourage anyone looking to make a social impact to get involved and contribute towards efforts to secure land and properties for community benefit.”

The launch of OCLT’s Housing Forever Bonds comes in response to the alarming loss of affordable housing in Ottawa, which has outpaced the addition of new affordable units. Between 2011 and 2021, Ottawa witnessed the loss of 30,215 private rental units with rents below $1,000 - a number greater than the entire community housing stock in Ottawa.1 This trend has led to the displacement of individuals with limited alternatives, exacerbating the housing crisis in the city.

Additionally, nonprofits and cooperatives working to preserve, maintain and create affordable housing have struggled to access funding programs that facilitate property acquisition in Ottawa. Housing Forever Bonds represent one way the OCLT is pursuing innovative approaches and new partnerships that will expand housing affordability. The Community Land Trust will lease its properties to Ottawa’s experienced non-profit and cooperative housing providers and community-focused property managers, placing them under ‘community ownership’, forever.

As OCLT Board Chair, Kiefer Maracle explains, “OCLT’s revolving investment fund aims to bridge a funding gap on a city-wide scale. We have heard that members of the community wish to be part of the housing solution, and the OCLT is working hard to create the mechanisms to harness this community spirit.”

A 6-unit building on Kirkwood Avenue is OCLT’s first property acquisition in its community-owned housing portfolio. Acquired in 2023, rent levels for the building were well below average market rate before OCLT’s acquisition. Upon OCLT’s purchase, rents were held at existing rates for the building’s tenants. Moving forward, following voluntary unit turn-overs, OCLT will ensure rents in these homes remain at least 20-30% below market averages. To acquire the property, OCLT secured a blend of financing, including conventional loans, public grants and a philanthropic gift. About $482K raised in Housing Forever Bonds will be used towards refinancing these repayable loans. Additional funds raised will be directed to subsequent down payments and/or long-term financing.

Organizations, businesses and individuals from across the national capital region are already stepping forward to invest.

Matthew Beutel, Executive Director, The Lowertown Community Resource Centre, added, “The Lowertown Community Resource Centre is proud to be the first non-profit organization to invest in the Ottawa Community Land Trust. The OCLT provides us with two things: 1) a safe and stable mechanism for part of our reserves to earn income for our organization and 2) a way to do so which aligns with our values and mission. Contributing to the preservation of affordable housing in Ottawa improves the quality of life of residents of our community. We are hopeful and confident that many other organizations will follow suit!”

Another early investor is the Sandy Hill Housing Co-operative. Stuart Hammond, Vice-President, notes, "The Sandy Hill Housing Co-operative is proud to invest in the Housing Forever Bond from the Ottawa Community Land Trust (OCLT). For 42 years, our co-op has managed our real estate and financial assets to deliver member-governed affordable housing; OCLT's mission aligns with our financial and democratic values. This investment allows us to make a lasting impact on rental housing affordability in our City, keep housing accessible to everyone for years to come and promote vibrant communities in Ottawa.”

OCLT’s Housing Forever Bond offering will be administered by Tapestry Community Capital, a community investment and social finance leader that has successfully worked with organizations to raise over $110 million in community bonds.

Investors can learn more about the Housing Forever Bonds and explore investment opportunities by visiting

Additional Investor Quotes:

OCLT Board member, Hilary McVey said, "Ottawa needs more affordable housing. I believe there are a number of organizations making an impact here. OCLT aims to fill a niche as part of the overall solution. I'm pleased as a Board member and a Deloitte Partner to be an investor in this first series of Housing Forever Bonds. I know how generous the community of Ottawa is and I hope many will join us."

Ottawa residents Kaireen Patton and Bryan Reid said, “Although we didn’t know it at the time, we were incredibly lucky to enter the Ottawa housing market over 20 years ago. As parents, we think it’s important that the next generation has access to affordable housing, whether as renters or owners. The work the OCLT is doing goes a long way to helping provide and preserve that access for many people wishing to live in Ottawa. We see OCLT's community bonds as a solid investment in Ottawa's future.”

About The Ottawa Community Land Trust:

Incorporated in 2021, the Ottawa Community Land Trust is a non-profit social enterprise, with a vision to make and keep affordable housing available to anyone who needs it in the capital of Canada. OCLT pursues innovative ways of preserving housing affordability - forever. Core to our mandate is the acquisition of existing rental properties - to be turned into community-owned affordable housing - by blending community impact investment, philanthropy and public dollars.

Media contact:
Yulu PR

Pomeroy 2023 – Ottawa report