Keremeos Tuesday, September 15, 2020 8:30 AM
Construction is starting on 43 affordable rental homes in Keremeos for families, seniors and people with disabilities, through a partnership between the Province and the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society (LSCSS).
“The previous government chose to ignore the housing crisis and they left people behind,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Everyone deserves a safe, secure and affordable home, and this project will deliver urgently needed housing for people in Keremeos.”
The three-storey building at 714 Veterans Ave. will provide a mix of homes ranging from studios to three-bedroom homes for people with low to moderate incomes.
LSCSS will operate the project, which will be named Ambrosia. The name reflects the agricultural traditions of the Similkameen and comes from the Ambrosia apple, which was discovered in a local orchard.
“The Village of Keremeos continues to be a partner in providing affordable housing and we are looking forward to the completion of the Ambrosia project,” said Manfred Bauer, mayor, Village of Keremeos.
The building will include commercial space on the ground floor for LSCSS’s offices and delivery of the society’s community programs. The location is close to the village’s commercial core and services, including a pharmacy, credit union and grocery store.
“LSCSS is excited about this opportunity to provide additional safe, affordable and accessible housing units in our community – homes for families, people with disabilities and for seniors to age in place,” said Sarah Martin, executive director, LSCSS. “The society is also grateful for the support of the Village of Keremeos, the Lower Similkameen Indian Band and of course, for the ongoing efforts of the staff whose vision and determination over the past two years have made this project possible.”
Given the long history of Indigenous peoples in the area, the LSCSS and the Lower Similkameen Indian Band have committed to monitoring all excavations on the project site for evidence of artifacts related to First Nations use and habitation.
Residents are expected to move into the building in October 2021.
Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- The Province is providing $4.5 million from the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, as well as interim construction financing of approximately $9.9 million for the project.
- The society provided the land.
- Rents are projected to range from $420 to $1,300 per month:
- eight units are for people with low incomes (such as seniors on fixed incomes): $420 to $660 per month;
- 22 rent-geared-to-income units are for people with low to moderate incomes ($36,000 to $67,500): approximately $655 to $1,047 per month; and
- 13 affordable market units are for people with moderate incomes up to $113,040: approximately $750 to $1,300 per month.
A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/
A backgrounder follows.
Province building new homes to meet full spectrum of housing needs
The B.C. government is working in partnership with non-profits, municipalities, First Nations, Indigenous housing organizations, and the private sector to build 114,000 affordable homes that cover the full spectrum of housing needs for British Columbians by 2028.
Budget 2018 included a $7-billion investment in the homes people need. As a result of that investment, more than 23,000 new homes are complete, under construction or in the approvals process for a range of people who are struggling to find a place to live, from people who are experiencing homelessness and seniors on fixed incomes, to middle-income families, students and individuals. As of Dec. 31, 2019, this includes:
Housing for people with middle incomes
The average annual household income qualifying for homes underway is under $99,000 per year:
- HousingHub: 2,802 homes
Housing for people with low to moderate incomes
This includes people residing in social housing (household incomes less than $65,000) as well as those living in affordable market rentals (households with annual incomes up to $74,000) – 9,837 homes:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (30% of units in each project): 1,565 rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Affordable Rental Housing Program: 1,615 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Deepening Affordability Fund: 1,976 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Regional Housing First Program: 907 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
Social housing or subsidized rents:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (50% of units in each project): 2,609 rental homes for people with low incomes
- Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund: 1,165 homes for Indigenous peoples, on- and off-reserve
Housing for people with very low incomes
Rental housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, or for people with very low incomes (includes supportive housing and shelter-rate housing) – 4,795 homes:
- Rapid Response to Homelessness: 2,012 homes with 24/7 support
- Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund: 1,060 homes with 24/7 support
- Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund: 679 spaces of transition, second-stage and affordable rental housing for women and children leaving violence
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (20% of units in each project): 1,044 homes
Housing for students – 5,584 homes:
- BC Student Housing Loan Program: 2,699 on-campus student housing units are under construction, in development or in the approvals process
- 2,885 student housing units are also complete, under construction or in development through partnerships with post-secondary institutions
Total: 23,018 homes