A fund supporting housing repairs & renovations for low-income residents

The Cape Breton Tompkins Affordable Housing Fund was established in 2018 by Cape Breton University’s Tompkins Institute. It is a legacy fund that was formed at the time of the dissolution of the Cape Breton Council of Churches, with money that remained from that organization. It has since been augmented by other contributions.

Named after Rev. Jimmy Tompkins (1870-1953), the legendary, inclusive Cape Breton community builder and social entrepreneur in the struggle against poverty, the Fund has been designed to help registered charities with targeted, project-based disbursements.

Project support is determined by the Cape Breton University (CBU) Tompkins Institute in consultation with the Affordable Housing Renovation Partnership – a network that brings together representatives of Nova Scotia Community College’s Marconi Campus, Cape Breton University, the United Way of Cape Breton, Pathways to Employment, the Cape Breton Council of Seniors, and the New Aberdeen Revitalization Society.


This Fund supports repairs and renovations that help low-income residents in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality remain in their homes. It also supports aging in-place and essential renovations to ensure accessibility, safety and warmth.

As of August 2023, the Tompkins Fund has enabled 15 renovation projects to be completed. These have been designed to help low-income households – mostly seniors – with repairs and renovations to make their homes safe, accessible and warm.

The Fund is currently supporting the Neighbourhood Handyperson Project, a pilot project in the New Aberdeen neighbourhood of Glace Bay. This is a rapid-response initiative to provide small repairs and renovations by competent tradespeople to assist residents to remain in their homes. The program is overseen by the Affordable Housing Renovation Partnership (AHRP), working with Warden United Church and the CBU Tompkins Institute.

For more information on the Fund, please contact Dr. Tom Urbaniak, Director, Tompkins Institute, Cape Breton University, at 902-563-1226; tom_urbaniak@cbu.ca.