Province and Columbia Basin Trust partnering to provide affordable housing

In an effort to ease the need for affordable housing in the Province, the government of B.C. is partnering with a municipalities and organizations to create 114,000 new rental units.

This includes a partnership with the Columbia Basin Trust, where each are set to provide $14 million over the next three years to establish affordable housing units across the Columbia Basin.

These units will support at risk youth, seniors and service workers.

During the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) conference in September, City of Fernie mayor and staff met with Selina Robinson, the minister of Municipal Housing and affairs. Mayor Mary Giuliano expressed to the Minister the dire need for affordable housing in her city.

“It’s something that’s really required in this town,” said Giuliano. “I would really like to see this started this year.”

She says that creating affordable housing in Fernie is one of her goals for 2018.

Fernie Family Housing, an organization that established New Horizons Village and bought Tom Uphill Manor, own a plot of land beside the home, near Isabella Dicken Elementary School.

“This is a really reputable organization,” said Giuliano. “They’ve got the land, if they could get the funding it would be really great.”

Councillor Joe Warshawsky is the liaison for the Fernie Family Housing project and the City of Fernie.

He says it’s imperative that the entire community get on board with the project.

“To show that it’s a community,” he said, stressing the need for organizations to partner and get involved in providing affordable housing in Fernie. “It’s not just one organization.”

Currently, the Fernie Family Housing Society is developing their proposal for the grant. The group is partnering with City Spaces to develop the proposal, the scope of the project, scale, and designs.

“There’s an affordability gap across all groups,” said Jill Gilhuly, a director on the board of the Fernie Family Housing Society, explaining that the project will likely cater to a broader demographic.

“It has to be self-sustaining, she said. Part of the proposal writing process will consider revenue streams to ensure the affordable housing project will be sustainable.

The deadline for submissions is in early February.

The minister is set to continue talks with municipalities on affordable housing as part of her ministry’s comprehensive housing strategy.

Organizations, municipalities and other interested proponents are being asked to submit proposals for affordable housing initiatives through an Expression of Interest (EOI), which will be evaluated by the province.

The province will be announcing further affordable housing initiatives in February when they release the 2018 budget.

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