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Home on the (price) range – North Okanagan groups seek affordable housing

Home is ‘foundation of a thriving community’
A Vernon-based company hopes developers can spend plenty of time building housing communities need through the B.C. government’s Homes For People plan. Morning Star)

It’s the place where families go to be together, where hard-working professionals put their feet up and where budding entrepreneurs bring their businesses to life. It’s home, and it’s the foundation of a thriving community.

As provincial and local governments look to build more multi-family homes to support growing communities, champions of increased density say everyone will benefit from more housing.

Earlier this year, the provincial government announced the Homes for People housing plan to build more small-scale and multi-family housing — including townhomes, duplexes and triplexes — through zoning changes and partnerships.

Ian Murphy, co-founder of Vernon-based AIM Development and Management, hopes the plan will streamline the rezoning process so developers can spend more time building houses that the community needs.

“Creating more land is the key to affordable and attainable housing, but it has been one of the biggest challenges for most communities in Canada,” said Murphy. “When we build, we’re not only creating homes, but we’re also spending more in the community buying supplies and hiring local trades.”

By converting land with single-family homes into attainable multi-family housing, Murphy says AIM has built 32 homes for families from five properties in the North Okanagan.

“Our goal has always been to build homes that the average family can afford,” says Murphy. “Attainable and multi-family housing doesn’t have to mean apartment buildings. It also means duplexes, triplexes and townhomes that appeal to young families, retirees and everyone in between.”

Kevin Acton, chair of the RDNO’s board of directors, says the district’s housing strategy highlights the need for more multi-family homes across the region.

“We need to work together to build a diverse and affordable housing stock that supports regional growth and the families, professionals and entrepreneurs that choose to live here,” said Acton.

Multi-family homes also help the community attract professionals in critical sectors like healthcare and trades.

“Increased density encourages economic investment and retail development, which help a community become more desirable,” said Leigha Horsfield, executive director, Community Futures North Okanagan. “By bringing in more business, greater density helps to pave the way for long-term economic stability, improving job opportunities and quality of life for all.”

Acton agrees.

“When we have more housing options, we can welcome these people who are essential to our workforce, the people who help everyone in the North Okanagan live a happy and healthy life.”

For more information, visit the RDNO online at Show your support for housing by posting on social media using #NOKHousingForAll.

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