The province’s affordable housing program will fund the construction of 4,900 new mixed-income rental units in 42 communities across the province, the B.C. NDP government announced at a media conference November 13.
Each of the new rental buildings created under the program will include a mix of homes for varying income levels. This will include “deeply subsidized” rentals for seniors and those on fixed incomes, affordable rentals for low- to moderate-income workers such as those in the service industries, and affordable rentals for middle-income earners such as nurses, first responders and teachers.
The 4,900 homes will be built under the provincial government’s $1.9 billion Community Housing Fund, which aims to build a total of 14,000 affordable rental homes over 10 years. This in turn is part of the province's 10-year commitment to build 114,000 affordable homes for British Columbians, which also includes social housing, supportive housing, shelter homes, student housing and owner-purchase units.
This initial set of affordable rental projects, which has already gone through a request-for-proposals process, will be built by non-profit housing and co-ops over the next two to three years, according to the province. The 4,900 homes will cost the province around $492 million of its $1.9 billion fund.
Just over 1,100 of those units will be built across 10 developments in the City of Vancouver, including a new development of 102 homes on Southwest Marine Drive, built by New Chelsea Society. New Chelsea Society already operates 13 affordable family housing communities across Metro Vancouver, including Chelsea Gardens in south-east Vancouver, where the press conference was held.
Patrick Buchannon, executive director of New Chelsea Society, said, “Founded by veterans of the Second World War, New Chelsea Society is a non-profit housing society that has been providing housing with heart in the Lower Mainland for low- and moderate-income seniors, families and persons with disabilities for over 65 years. We are very proud to be partnering with the Province and the City of Vancouver and are thrilled to have been selected to receive the funding to build a new 102-unit affordable housing project for seniors and families on Southwest Marine Drive in Vancouver.”
The other Vancouver projects are:
• $18.1 million to Brightside Homes – 181 homes for individuals, families and seniors;
• $4 million to Lookout Housing and Health Society – 40 homes for individuals (two projects);
• $9.9 million to M. Kopernik Foundation – 99 homes for seniors;
• $4.6 million to Salvation Army Harbour Light – 46 homes for individuals;
• $3 million to the Kettle Society – 30 homes for seniors with mental health challenges;
• $7.7 million to Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency – 77 homes for individuals, families and seniors;
• $16.9 million to Vancouver Community Land Trust – 169 homes for people with HIV and AIDS and families and seniors; and
• $35.7 million to Vancouver Community Land Trust – 357 homes for individuals, families and seniors.
A full list of the first set of approved affordable housing projects across B.C. can be found here.
Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said, “People and businesses are struggling under the weight of the housing crisis in B.C. Through the Community Housing Fund, we are building housing so that growing families, aging seniors and low- to moderate-income individuals can afford homes in the communities they live and work in. These new homes will have life-changing impacts for people and communities right across the province.”