The MacDonald Centre for Independent Living offers 40 affordable, accessible and energy-efficient apartments for persons with disabilities. The 3-storey, centrally located apartment building was renovated and retrofitted to improve accessibility and energy efficiency. The renovation work included adding 6 new accessible apartments, providing more much-needed housing for persons with disabilities in Moncton.
3 Key Goals
Financing through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund funded accessibility upgrades and added more housing to an existing building. This meets an important community need for affordable housing for persons with disabilities.
Partnering with a provincial agency and being part of a network that serves persons with disabilities made the project well positioned to qualify for the program.
Flexibility is important when renovating older buildings to improve accessibility and energy efficiency. Working with experts is worth the time and investment.
Project scope and expected outcomes
The MacDonald Centre for Independent Living is a non-profit organization that has provided housing and services to people with disabilities since 1983. Located in the heart of downtown Moncton, New Brunswick, the Centre was born out of high local demand for accessible and affordable housing. It’s part of the Comfort Life Network, which includes 14 organizations that offer housing and services to seniors and persons with disabilities. The Centre supports independence and community inclusion. Access to accessible, supportive and affordable housing is key to enabling residents to thrive.
The MacDonald Centre for Independent Living was renovated to make the building more accessible and energy efficient. The building wasn’t fully meeting the accessibility needs of residents, so major repairs and retrofits were made.
The project was also upgraded with energy-efficiency features. This enhances long-term sustainability and has the added benefit of lowering operating costs.
The renovations also added 6 units to the building to provide more priority housing for persons with disabilities in the community. Of the project’s 40 apartments, 33 are fully accessible.
The MacDonald Centre for Independent Living received financing through CMHC’s National Housing Co-Investment Fund to cover renovation costs. CMHC also provided Seed Funding to help with costs during the early stages of development.
The province provided $250,000 as a contribution and ongoing operational funding.
Over the past few years, the MacDonald Centre for Independent Living management team has partnered with the provincial Department of Social Development. Together, the organizations developed a new service model to deliver affordable and accessible housing in the Greater Moncton area.
The Department of Social Development provides rent subsidies for the project’s 40 units. The Department also refers potential residents who need affordable and accessible housing. Additionally, the province funds the individualized on-site supports, which are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Residents manage a social committee that provides ongoing activities.
- The MacDonald Centre for Independent Living is located in the heart of downtown Moncton, at 36 High Street.
- The Centre is located close to a grocery store, pharmacy, park, activity centre and public transit.
- To ensure it meets the needs of persons with disabilities, the project has accessibility features throughout.
- The accessible entrance has an automatic entry that can be opened by remote. An elevator with a built-in ramp lets residents easily navigate the 3-storey building.
- 4 of the apartments have automatic doors, with the possibility to add more if needed.
- The renovation work improved the overall accessibility of the apartments. Their layout was converted to an open concept kitchen and living room.
33 of the apartments have new accessible kitchens. Features include:
- accessible cupboards
- wall ovens with side openings
- cooking plates that are the right height for people who use a wheelchair
- sinks with knee clearance underneath
- accessible counters with electric outlets on front surfaces
- All of the apartments have an accessible wheel-in shower and grab bars.
- The door width of bathrooms and bedrooms accommodates wheelchairs. The space around the entries to the apartments was increased to meet accessibility standards.
- The building was fitted with new windows that are accessible.
- Window openings, locks, light switches and electric controls are accessible.
- On-site reserved parking and sidewalks on and around the property are wheelchair accessible. An accessible garden for residents is located behind the Centre.
Energy efficiency – managing unexpected challenges
The MacDonald Centre for Independent Living had many energy efficiency features added during the renovation work. Cost, however, proved to be a challenge in bringing the energy efficiency of the building up to National Housing Co-Investment Fund requirements. The Centre worked with an engineer who is a member of the Canada Green Building Council to maximize energy efficiency. The engineer provided a report that outlines how the retrofits reduce the project’s energy consumption footprint. Because of the project’s overall benefits and efforts taken to maximize energy efficiency, CMHC made a minor exception for the MacDonald Centre for Independent Living.
Initiative Name: MacDonald Centre for Independent Living
Location: Moncton, New Brunswick
National Housing Strategy Initiative: National Housing Co-Investment Fund – Revitalization
National Housing Strategy Priority Areas:
- Persons with disabilities
“I am very pleased that, for the next 20 years, the MacDonald Centre for Independent Living will continue its vocation of providing services to people in need of an accessible and affordable living environment in the Greater Moncton area.”