OTTAWA -- The federal government is promising $168 million to help build hundreds of new affordable housing units in Ottawa, funding it’s touting as the largest single investment in affordable housing in the city.

The nearly 700 Ottawa Community Housing units will be built across four buildings on Gladstone Avenue, one of which is already under construction.

“Today's announcement is the largest single investment in affordable housing in Ottawa, ever,” Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen said.

Infrastructure Minister and local MPP Catherine McKenna, Mayor Jim Watson and other officials joined Hussen for the announcement Thursday morning.

The money comes in the form of a mortgage from the federal government, more than $10 million of which is a forgivable loan.

The four buildings are spread over three sites at 811, 818 and 933 Gladstone Avenue.

Of the proposed 698 units, a total of 211 units will be earmarked at affordable rents lower than 80% of median market rent for the neighborhood.

About 180 of the homes will be dedicated to priority groups such as seniors, women and children fleeing domestic violence, those facing mental health and addiction issues, and newcomers.

There is an affordable housing shortage in Ottawa. There are more than 10,000 households on the waitlist for community housing. Many families spent years waiting for a spot.

The city recently revised its plan to tackle housing and homelessness, which includes targets to build 8,500 affordable housing options by 2030.