The Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) has signed a memorandum of agreement with United Property Resource Corporation (UPRC) to support decision-making around church property that includes unlocking redevelopment opportunities at its church sites that could include affordable housing.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with UPRC, which shares our vision of supporting healthy, vibrant congregations, neighbourhoods and communities,” said Michael Pryse, Bishop of the Eastern Synod of the ELCIC. “By working together and sharing our resources, we will provide renewed gathering spaces for our congregations and local communities and make an impactful contribution to much needed affordable housing solutions.”
UPRC was founded in 2019 by the United Church of Canada to bring professional real estate expertise and support to communities of faith, providing them with the resources needed to make prudent and faithful property decisions.
“UPRC has given the United Church the opportunity to reimagine building and nurturing the community by reinvesting in its property,” said Michael Blair, General Secretary, the United Church of Canada. “This new agreement with the ELCIC is an example of our commitment to collaborating with others in goodwill to help mend the world.”
Through a coordinated strategy, URPC will help congregations determine how they can work to reconfigure or repurpose their properties so they can improve services to their congregations and communities while ensuring financial sustainability.
UPRC will assist churches in assessing housing opportunities and also consider other spaces for possible uses, such as daycares, respite centers, warming centers, to benefit both the congregation and the broader community.
As part of its approach, UPRC retains the professional expertise of Kindred Works, its redevelopment partner.
Kindred Works develops and manages mixed-income rental housing and gathering places that are targeting to be carbon neutral and promote social equity. One third of its housing will be below market rates to make housing more affordable for community members.
“Our mission is purpose driven,” says Tim Blair, CEO of Kindred Works. “We are tackling the two existential crisis of our time, housing crisis and climate change, and at the same time building beautiful, sustainable and desirable homes and shared space for generations to come.”
This agreement represents the third of its kind between UPRC, Kindred Works, and ecumenical partners. Kindred Works currently has 20 projects in active development representing over 3,100 units with a goal of delivering 20,000 units over the next 15 years to create equitable and climate safe solutions to the housing crisis.
(Photo from left to right: Tim Blair, David Constable, Jennifer Hoover, Bishop Michael Pryse, Keith Myra)