Collaborative Partnership: Advancing Affordable Housing

3 minute read

We believe financial decisions can impact the world in amazing ways. Our value-centred approach is woven into everything we do, including our innovative and impactful partnerships.

The Cash Management Group (CMG) at Canaccord Genuity, in partnership with Kindred and other Canadian credit unions, offers IMPACT GICs to municipalities, post-secondary institutions, and other investors. When their institutional clients invest in an IMPACT GIC, Canaccord Genuity aligns the funds with a partnering credit union, such as Kindred. We then lend those funds to one of our members that pursues at least one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, all of these loans are subject to a series of positive and negative screens so that we can ensure the funds are loaned out in a sustainable way.

Kindred is pleased to profile MennoHomes, a member whose loans are matched with the CMG IMPACT GIC.

In response to growing levels of poverty, MennoHomes was created in 2001 as an advocate for safe and affordable housing in Waterloo Region. At that time, the waiting list for affordable housing in this Ontario municipality was 3,000 individuals or families. Today, amidst a hot residential real estate market across the country that’s putting pressure on the rental supply, the need has doubled to more than 6,000.

MennoHomes believes quality affordable housing is one of the most effective ways to address a variety of social and economic needs in the community. “Our goal is to create housing that people can afford,” notes Dan Driedger, Executive Director at MennoHomes. “That means housing that costs less than 30% of a family’s household income so that people have sufficient funds for other necessities of life, such as nutritious food and proper clothing.”

Access to a safe and affordable home makes a real and measurable difference in people’s lives. Seniors, adults with disabilities, refugees, and single mothers, among many others, benefit greatly when they experience the dignity that comes from having a solid, safe, and comfortable home.

When designated ‘affordable’ units in houses or small buildings within the community are at risk, MennoHomes may be able to access government funding and municipal programs to keep this existing rental housing stock in place.

If a larger property becomes available, sometimes a new multi-unit building makes most sense, to create the most housing through density. Creativity helps too. For example, MennoHomes’ most recent project is being built on property made available by St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The 48-unit building under construction will include a church meeting space on the main level, alongside community support offices, with apartments situated on the upper floors. Importantly, MennonHomes’ new housing projects are built with sustainability in mind, to benefit the environment and to offer energy efficiency that saves tenants money on utilities.

MennoHomes chooses to tackle the massive issue of affordable housing through collaborative partnerships. Within a new innovative partnership commitment, Kindred made a significant contribution to MennoHomes’ capital campaign, A Place to Call Home. The campaign is funding MennoHomes’ new project described above, which will create more than 80 affordable apartments across two phases, with the first tenants taking up residency this summer. The $5 million capital campaign will ensure the rent received from tenants is sufficient to pay the ongoing mortgage and operating costs of the buildings.

“We’re so pleased to deepen our relationship with MennoHomes as they continue to create affordable housing in Waterloo Region,” said Ian Thomas, Kindred’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our expanded partnership includes financial literacy programming and a commitment to explore other innovative ways to live out Kindred’s purpose.” The credit union is pleased to join other community partners, including St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Parents for Community Living, Compass Refugee Centre, and Thresholds Homes and Supports, to make this project possible.

When asked how financial institutions can partner with non-profits to increase access to affordable housing, Driedger notes that it goes beyond sponsorship dollars. “Your financial institution must accept some risk about how it will all come together, since capital fundraising comes with uncertainty.” He adds that “our ongoing relationship with Kindred, and the credit union’s commitment to affordable housing, means that they’ve been willing to work with us and help us secure financing so we could get construction underway.”

MennoHomes is a great fit for the IMPACT GIC program, as their work aligns with several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals including Sustainable Cities and Communities; No Poverty; and Good Health and Well-being.

Further information about MennoHomes can be found at

Sheila de Peuter

Communication and Content Manager

Sheila is an experienced marketing communications professional with a depth of experience working with credit unions and a passion for co-operatives.

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