Province to help build 588 affordable homes in Victoria

Province to help build 588 affordable homes in Victoria
Province promises 4900 affordable rental homes across BC
The B.C. government is funding 4,900 new affordable rental units to be built in the next three years as part of its efforts to tackle a housing crisis across the province.

The units will include both non-profit and co-operative housing and are designed to address affordable housing needs for a range of income levels in 42 communities, the government says in a statement.

Individual buildings will contain units aimed at a mix of income levels, including homes for middle-income individuals and families, as well as “deeply subsidized” units for seniors and people on fixed incomes, and homes for low-wage workers.

BC commits to building 4,900 affordable rental homes

The buildings will contain a mix of units for middle-income people and families, heavily subsidized rentals for seniors and others on fixed incomes and homes for low-wage workers.

In a press conference Tuesday, Horgan said the mixed-income units, which will be built as part of the “Building BC: Community Housing Fund,” will help make life more affordable for the province’s middle-income families.

"We want a range of people to have access to this new affordable housing. The projects will include a mix of rent levels," Housing Minister Selina Robinson said at a news conference in Vancouver.

Premier John Horgan is committing to building a total of 4,900 new “affordable” rental homes in 42 communities across the province. A total of 10 projects — 1,101 homes — will be built in Vancouver.

Robinson said one building could be home to seniors, retail workers, nurses and first responders, "who are increasingly struggling in a rental market that is becoming so unaffordable for too many."

“We aspire to provide our 3,000 residents with more than just an affordable place to live – we strive to provide them with a home and a community,” said Patrick Buchannon, Executive Director for the NCS.

Jill Atkey, chief executive og the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association, said the investment is "vital."

One-third of B.C. residents are renters and almost half of them are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent. Almost one in five are spending more than 50 per cent of their income on rent, she said.

BC’s new Community Housing Fund has committed to investing $1.9-billion over the next decade, and will build a total of 14,000 affordable rentals for seniors, families and low- and middle-income earners.

"Data tell us that this crisis is real," she said. "Spending more than you can afford on rent is becoming the new normal," she said.

“These… homes are an important step toward addressing the housing crisis and giving families in every part of the province a break from skyrocketing housing costs,” he said in a statement.

It's significant that the projects are being delivered thorough the non-profit sector, Atkey said, because it means they will remain affordable in the future.

BC is kicking in $492 million to deliver the new rental homes. Projects were selected through a request for proposals issued in the spring and closed in September.

This is the first set of housing projects selected through the B.C. government's $1.9-billion Building B.C.: Community Housing Fund established to construct more than 14,000 affordable rental homes for independent families and seniors.

Many will include child care, according to the province. The province has not revealed how much monthly rent will cost for the units.

It's part of a larger $7 billion commitment by the B.C. government to build 114,000 affordable homes over 10 years.

It will build a new 102-unit affordable housing project for seniors and families on Southwest Marine Drive in Vancouver.

Increasing the housing supply was also part of the NDP minority government's confidence and supply agreement with the B.C. Green party.

Robinson said the province received more than 100 responses to its request for proposals and the projects were selected based on criteria that includes the types of clients and the impact the project is expected to have in reducing the community's affordable rental housing need.

"Years of inaction on the B.C. housing crisis left families struggling to get by and unable to get ahead," Horgan said. "These new, affordable rental homes are an important step toward addressing the housing crisis and giving families in every part of the province a break from skyrocketing housing costs."

Seventy two projects have been approved. About 1,500 homes will be built in the Vancouver coastal area, 1,400 in the Fraser Valley, 1,300 on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands and a combined 750 in the Interior and North.

Robinson said the province received more than 100 responses to its request for proposals and the projects were selected based on criteria that includes the types of clients and the impact the project is expected to have in reducing the community's affordable rental housing need.

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"For decades, weve had an increasing crisis when it comes to affordable housing in British Columbia and I think it reached a peak last year during the election campaign," Premier John Horgan said at a news conference in Vancouver.

Seventy two projects have been approved. About 1,500 homes will be built in the Vancouver coastal area, 1,400 in the Fraser Valley, 1,300 on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands and a combined 750 in the Interior and North.

During that campaign, Horgan promised to build 114,000 new units over 10 years in the form of co-op, rental, not-for-profit and market-based housing. When the government released its 30-point housing plan, it promised nearly 37,000 new homes through direct government funding.

The housing initiative will be geared toward low- and middle-income families and seniors located in 42 communities. The individual buildings will contain units that will be deeply subsidized for those on fixed incomes.

The rental suites announced Tuesday will be the first set of projects built using a new housing fund, which the NDP says will see the development of more than 14,000 affordable homes in the next decade.

Premier John Horgan campaigned on a promise to build 114,000 new units over 10 years in the form of co-op, rental, not-for-profit and market-based housing.

Robinson said one building could be home to seniors, retail workers, nurses and first responders, "who are increasingly struggling in a rental market that is becoming so unaffordable for too many."

The housing is geared toward low- and middle-income earners, families and seniors located in 42 communities.

"We want a range of people to have access to this new affordable housing. The projects will include a mix of rent levels," Housing Minister Selina Robinson said at a news conference in Vancouver.

A list posted by the province showed 29 projects planned for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley – a total of 2,877 homes.

Another 20 developments are planned for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, 17 for the Interior and six in the northern part of the province.

Individual buildings will contain units aimed at a mix of income levels, the province said, and will include deeply subsidized rentals for those on fixed incomes. The housing complexes will include non-profit and co-op options.

"Years of inaction on the B.C. housing crisis left families struggling to get by and unable to get ahead," Premier John Horgan said. "These new, affordable rental homes are an important step toward addressing the housing crisis and giving families in every part of the province a break from skyrocketing housing costs."

It's significant that the projects are being delivered thorough the non-profit sector, Atkey said, because it means they will remain affordable in the future.

The projects were selected through a request for proposals made in April, and were chosen based on criteria including the impact they could have on reducing the need for affordable housing.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart called the announcement a "landmark investment." With a near-zero vacancy rate, the city has been promised 10 projects containing 1,101 homes including some earmarked for people with HIV/AIDS, and others for seniors with mental health challenges.

In addition to the homes announced Tuesday, the province has already started work on 1,700 affordable rental homes announced last year, and has completed more than 560 modular supportive homes out of its promised 2,000.

Last month, it announced about 280 homes for women and children fleeing violence, and another 1,100 homes are underway under other initiatives.

Remaining housing projects under the 37,000-home commitment will be built through provincial partnerships that include the national housing strategy, investments from local governments, funding from transit and partnerships with non-profits and developers, the ministry said in a statement to CTV.

An interactive map shows the locations of all 72 projects announced Tuesday. Scroll down to view the projects in list form.