Over a decade ago, Westminster Church began an initiative into neighborhood housing.
The first step was to incorporate a cooperative, obtain financing from government, tear down some slum housing across from the Church, and erect a handsome, four-story building which matches the architecture of Westminster. When fully occupied, the residents of the co-op took over the ownership and management of that development.
Not too long after, members of the Church started a new non-profit corporation called Westminster Housing Society Inc. Once again, with a mortgage and rent subsidy from government, W.H.S proceeded with a townhouse development just a little further to the north at 165 Maryland Street. It consists of 12 townhouse units designed for low-income families of up to five or six children.
Over the course of the last few years, W.H.S. has moved in a new direction. It has been acquiring and rehabilitating entire houses and making them available to low-income tenants.
Soon, W.H.S. had obtained and renovated three houses in the vicinity of the Church. Then, in 1999 the society received a big boost when it was given a grant of $200,000 from Manitoba Housing. With additional funds raised from the community (including the Westminster Foundation) W.H.S. was able to acquire and completely renovate three houses in the West Broadway area.
Late in 1999, the provincial government announced yet another grant to W.H.S. that will cover the majority of costs associated with demolishing two adjacent derelict houses and construction of two new duplexes designed to fit in with neighboring properties. Once again, W.H.S. will be seeking additional funds to help defray the costs of this new development.
Westminster Housing Society is a registered charity and is governed by a volunteer board, drawn in part from the church and in part from the wider community.