Haliburton County non-profit Places for People (P4P) is turning to a tried and tested, old school fundraising formula to address new world problems surrounding housing affordability and availability across the region.
The organization is rolling out a community bonds program next month, with president, Jody Curry, recently telling The Highlander P4P is hoping to raise $850,000 to clear a handful of outstanding mortgages and private loans.
“This is a really big deal for us. While it would be a first-time thing in Haliburton County, non-profits the world over have used community bond initiatives to address issues in their communities,” Curry said. “This is not a donation, it’s an investment. Anyone who pays in will get their money back.”
There are three options for would-be lenders – investing a minimum of $1,000 locked in for three years, earning three per cent interest paid annually; $5,000 locked in for five years, earning four per cent interest; or $10,000 locked in for seven years, earning five per cent interest.
Curry said the first two options would see principal investments returned in full upon expiry of the bond, while the third option has a portion of the principal paid out annually.
“We wanted to include different options so anyone who wants to invest with us can do so. We’ve had a ton of interest already from people who want to form part of the solution to one of our community’s biggest problems,” she said, adding early commitments as of press time were around $70,000.
Curry noted the bonds would be secured by P4P’s existing assets, which she says are valued at around $2.5 million
The non-profit is partnering with Torontobased Tapestry Community Capital, which will manage the investments. Tapestry has more than 20 years of experience in the community investment space and has helped raise more than $100 million to support 59 projects nationwide, mostly in the renewable energy sector. Curry said they also have experience working with groups on affordable housing initiatives.
The bonds proposal has been in the works since 2018. Curry said P4P will be hosting several community workshops in June to float the idea to potential investors and explain the process. She’s hoping to reach the $850,000 goal by the end of September.
“This reminds me of what Haliburton County used to do – when the kids wanted an ice rink, the community came together to make it happen. Governments haven’t appropriately funded housing for 40 years, so we have to try and follow in those footsteps and do it ourselves,” she said, adding “buying into this program ensures your money stays right here in Haliburton County.”
P4P owns and operates five properties across the County, with 12 affordable housing units. While potential projects in Minden and on Wallings Road in Haliburton have fallen by the wayside in recent years, Curry remains hopeful at least one substantial development could soon be moving ahead.
Paul Wilson, owner of Harburn Holdings, pledged one of four lots fronting Grass Lake to P4P last year. Curry said it would come with commercial and residential components, totalling 16 units. A proposal to develop the property has been supported by Dysart et al and Haliburton County councils.
“We want to be ready… we hope this first offering will provide proof of concept for when we come to build. The Grass Lake development is going to be a multi-milliondollar project. We’re going to need to raise a lot of money to make that viable,” she said.
To learn more, visit placesforpeople.ca, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 705-306-9191.