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Affordable housing for Revelstoke’s hospitality workers

First tenants are expected to move into the building on Sept. 1, 2022

A new housing complex at 297 Humbert Street looks to provide affordable housing to current and future Revelstoke residents whose work helps the community to thrive.

The brand-new complex celebrated a ribbon-cutting opening ceremony on July 28 and is the product of the partnership between BC Housing, Columbia Basin Trust (CBT), the City of Revelstoke and the Revelstoke Community Housing Society (RCHS).

The goal of the project was to supply individuals and couples with moderate and low incomes who are working in the hospitality industry, which Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz called the ‘backbone of the local economy’.

“It’s an honour for our community to say we’re doing what we can do moving forward,” said Sulz during his speech at the opening event.

The project was brought to life by Absolute Contracting, the largest locally based Revelstoke home builder and general contractor.

The building is home to 24 one-bedroom units, equipped with a kitchen-living area, a separate bedroom and a bathroom. The location offers close access to a grocery store, parks, the hospital, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz, Rana Nelson, and Peter Bernacki in the kitchen of one of the units. (Josh Piercey/Revelstoke Review)

Randy Driediger, Chairperson at RCHS, added that not only are the units an asset to those wishing to move to Revelstoke from elsewhere, but also to those currently living in crowded living spaces in the community. Moving single-tenants out of shared households provides an opportunity for families who are looking for more spacious accommodation.

The provincial government and the CBT provided a grant of approximately $4.8 million for the project through the Columbia Basin Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement.

This building is part of B.C.’s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan to build 114,000 housing units across the province. They are currently in year six of that plan.

David Raven (Vice-chair, CBT), Randy Driediger (Chairperson, RCHS), Gary Sulz (Revelstoke Mayor), Kelly Miller (BC Housing), and Scott Robertson (Absolute Contracting) cutting the ribbon on July 28. (Josh Piercey/Revelstoke Review)

Each unit will be rented for $1,150 per month, which, according to BC Housing, is below the average market rate in Revelstoke.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing is affordable when it costs less than 30 per cent of a household’s before-tax income.

In a 2018 study, completed by the Canadian Rental Housing Index, 43 per cent of households in Revelstoke were spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent and utilities, and 21 per cent were spending over half of their income.

The reported living wage for Revelstoke residents in 2021 was $19.51, a 3.23 per cent increase from the reported living wage in 2019 of $18.90. The current minimum wage in B.C. is $15.65 per hour.

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Assuming a 40-hour work week, an individual who makes minimum wage would earn an annual salary of approximately $31,000, of which 30 per cent is $9,300.

Following the tenant application process through RCHS, the first tenants are expected to move into the building on Sept. 1, 2022.

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