First Housing Project
A Venture Philanthropy Initiative
McLaren Hotel - Supportive Housing
The McLaren Hotel (“the hotel”) is a family-owned hotel located at 554 Main Street, Winnipeg. It is single room occupancy (SRO) hotel that provides last resort housing to Manitobans who require shelter and live in poverty. Residents are people who often face other barriers, such as addictions, mental health issues, and low to no regular income, unemployment, and overall insecurity. The hotel currently houses residents in 150 rooms spread over 6 floors. Guided by article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the hotel owners using the Equal Housing Initiative’s (EHI) venture philanthropy model have initiated a redevelopment process that includes, among others, renovating and repurposing the hotel into a safe and affordable supportive recovery housing. EHI will lead the Redevelopment Project, beginning with a research initiative to inform and design innovative best practices. In addition to the hotel redevelopment project, the hotel owners are planning to concurrently develop the adjacent surface parking lot at 550 Main Street as affordable housing in partnership with Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation. The proposed development will offer 108 new affordable units.
By offering safe, affordable, and independent housing adjacent to supportive housing at the McLaren Hotel, residents can transition to independent housing once they have established a stable situation. Although more independent than the SRO hotel environment, residents are able to belong to a community that stabilizes and supports them.
The expected positive social and economic benefits are material and will generate meaningful return on impact investment by offering staged housing to our communities’ most vulnerable. The target resident draws significantly on social services for survival, including shelters, social agencies and hospitals. They also tend to interact more frequently with police, fire, and paramedics services.
Rubi Gill, President of McLaren Hotel
Realize the conversion of the McLaren Hotel to ‘3rd Stage Transitional Living’ in partnership with the Equal Housing Initiative, in addition to affordable housing at 550 Main Street.
Provide approximately 5,000 square feet of new commercial retail space at a zero-lot line, fronting onto Main Street, creating an active storefront street scene on Main Street that will increase pedestrian activity and public safety.
Create affordable residential units in the Downtown, which is consistent with the City of Winnipeg’s Downtown First Agenda and Our Winnipeg’s call to foster continued Downtown renewal and residential growth.
Increase economic activity during construction, including induced, indirect, and direct jobs creation, generating new economic activity and taxation for the City and Province.
Support Venture Philanthropy Partnerships, including Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation and Equal Housing Initiative.
Create a continuum of supports to encourage transition from SRO (single room occupancy) living to independent living in adjacent apartment building, while remaining a part of the McLaren community.
Support thoughtful densification of the downtown by removing a gravel parking lot in the heart of Winnipeg’s Downtown.
Introduce stability and supports to empower individuals with the objective of enabling employment and contribution to the economy.
Preserve heritage components of the McLaren Hotel while ensuring the overall sustainability of the existing SRO.
Provide new revenues to the City of Winnipeg from a new Assessed Taxation Roll.
Increase energy efficiency at the McLaren through renovation.