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Affordable senior rentals put a dent in Vernon housing needs

McCulloch Court II is a four-storey apartment building, housing 48 one-bedroom units

Vernon just got a boost in affordable housing for seniors.

The provincial government announced on Wednesday, Aug. 2 the opening of a new, 48-unit apartment building that houses seniors with low to moderate incomes.

“The housing crisis is affecting everyone in B.C., including seniors, which is why our government is working hard to build more good affordable homes that people can rely on,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee.

“Having 48 new affordable rental homes on Coldstream Avenue become available to seniors in our community is such great news. I am proud of the meaningful investments that our government makes, which will benefit seniors and families in Vernon and the Okanagan for years to come.

The building, called McCulloch II, is situated at 3404 Coldstream Ave., and is attached to the older McCulloch Court building, which was phase one of the two pronged seniors housing development.

McCulloch II is a four-storey apartment building with 42 one-bedroom homes and six accessible one-bedroom homes for people living with disabilities.

“Vernon’s rental vacancy rate remains below one per cent, which emphasizes the need to find collaborative and sustainable solutions for more housing stock to match a variety of needs,” said Vernon mayor Victor Cummings. “That’s why the City of Vernon is thrilled to see the results of this partnership between the province and the VPAS (Vernon Pensionsers Accomodation Society) to develop much-needed safe and affordable housing for Vernon seniors in a central location of the community. The city was pleased to assist the development project by paying the development cost charges.”

The new building is complete with a scooter room, bike room, gym, washing machines, common area lounge and a communal garden on the top-level patio. So far, 21 seniors have taken occupancy.

That still leaves 27 available. However, the list of seniors waiting for affordable housing is “never-ending” in the province, and it is “hard to put a time-frame” of when exactly the remaining rooms will be filled, according to Lesley Waughman, building manager at VPAS.

“After 16-plus years of persistence, we are pleased to see our new 48-suite facility ready to move into,” said Ray Ivey, board president of VPAS. “Special acknowledgment to our staff and directors for their devotion and energy they have committed to this project. Also, special acknowledgment to the taxpayers of British Columbia, BC Housing, Terra Housing, Scuka Construction and the City of Vernon.”

Of the 48 units, 33 have rent-geared-to-income rates, with rent set at 30 per cent of household income. Rent for the units ranges from $375 to $900 a month. Vehicle parking is an additional $40 a month, with parking for motorized scooters costing $25 a month.

This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the province has funded more than 76,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway, including more than 500 homes in Vernon.

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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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