Win-win for Hop and U of W

The Housing Opportunity Partnership was contacted late last year by Don Miedema, the housing co-ordinator for the Spence Neighbourhood Association, who wanted HOP to consider saving a home slated for demolition on Langside to make way for a major University of Winnipeg project. 

Slowly, HOP warmed up to the idea of relocating the home from 380 Langside Ave. In late January the home was relocated to 421 Victor St. 

Following extensive refurbishing, the home will soon be ready for the HOP program’s 60th family to move in. HOP began in earnest 10 years ago acquiring, renovating and selling affordably-priced homes in Winnipeg’s West End. The homes are sold to modest-income first-time home buyers.

The infill home on Victor Street is a full two-storey 1,100-square-foot three-bedroom home sitting on a brand new poured foundation. It has new framing, drywall, insulation, mechanical, plumbing, windows, doors, cabinetry and decorating. 

“As the project contractor, it has been very gratifying to experience such a positive embrace from the neighbourhood for this home,” said Murray Dufton from Inner City Renovations. “They (neighbours) understand HOP’s intentions are to help renew streets like Victor so it makes you feel good about the work we do.”

The Langside home’s relocation also allows for the construction of a new University of Winnipeg student housing residence. The West End gains twice — a home for a needy family is rescued from the wrecker’s ball and the university gains brand-new energy-efficient affordable student housing on Langside Street. 

McFeetors Hall: Great West Life Student Residence is being built on the northeast side of the University of Winnipeg’s future Richardson College for the Environment & Science Complex.

In typical Winnipeg fashion, exemplary people and companies stepped forward to make the project possible. Ray McFeetors made a personal donation of $1.67 million, while Great-West Life contributed another $1 million.    

The initiative is also supported by $500,000 in funding from the Manitoba government’s Housing Development and Rehabilitation Fund.

“At Great-West Life, we are committed to taking an active leadership role in the communities we serve,” said McFeetors, “We take pride in knowing that our support to Winnipeg’s downtown university campus and surrounding community will help bring new vitality to the inner city. We are pleased that future students, whether fresh out of high school or returning to school as mature students, will benefit from affordable, quality housing to help them achieve their dreams and goals in life.”

McFeetors Hall will feature housing for rural and 

out-of-province students, mature students and their families, and international students attending The 

University of Winnipeg as well as other educational 

institutions. Plans call for townhouse-style units featuring street-level entrances. 

The plans also include dormitory-style units on the upper floors to accommodate more than 175 students in single rooms and multi-bedroom suites, with facilities for private and shared bathrooms and cooking units. Student common rooms, lounges and ancillary space will provide opportunities for students to experience university campus housing at its best.