More relief is coming to Vernon renters.
At a press conference held at the Vernon Lodge Thursday afternoon, Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, announced the addition of 41 new affordable rental homes for seniors and families with low to moderate incomes.
The new four-storey building will be built next to the existing buildings and will provide a mix of one and two-bedroom units, which will include in-suite laundry and other amenities.
Approximately six of these units will be accessible for people with disabilities.
“As with the rest of the province, Vernon is struggling with an alarmingly low vacancy rate,” Robinson said.
“That is why our government is moving quickly to get more affordable rental stock in the market for the people who need it most.”
For Vernon’s mayor, Akbal Mund, Robinson’s announcement came a a welcome relief.
“You can come to Vernon anytime,” he quipped.
“You always bring good news.”
Mund said he was obviously pleased to hear that more affordable homes were on the way because the issue is not one the City can address on its own.
The $23 million project, which the Minister hopes to see completed by 2020, also includes fire safety upgrades and other improvements to 71 existing units in two apartment buildings located at 3800 and 3802 27 Ave.
Rental rates for the new development, which will be next door to those apartments, are projected to be $787 per month for a one-bedroom and $962 per month for a two-bedroom.
Robinson’s visit Thursday afternoon, comes roughly five months after her previous announcement of the creation of a partnership between the Province and the City of Vernon to develop two new modular-housing projects in the community.
That project, which is currently underway, includes a 53-unit supportive housing complex and a 45-bed expansion of a shelter operated by the John Howard Society.
Robinson said the current project is part of the Province’s commitment to build 114,000 affordable homes, including market rental, non-profit, supported social housing, co-op and owner-purchase housing through partnerships.
The Vancouver Resource Society (VRS), a non-profit society that partners with B.C. Housing and their own internal program, Seniors Affordable Living Initiative, to provide seniors on a fixed income a quality place to live, will operate the two existing apartment buildings, and co-own and oversee the development of the new building.
According to their website, the VRS is funded through contracts with the Ministry of Children & Families, the Ministry of Health and Community Living B.C.
In his comments, Martin Gardner, director of operations with VRS, who also assumed the role of master of ceremonies for the press conference, said the project will enable VRS to expand their affordable rental housing program to residents of Vernon.
Referencing another Vernon-based VRS project, Silver Springs, which Gardner said keeping housing affordable for local seniors, will continue to be a priority for his organization.
Rental units at Silver Springs start at approximately $1,100 per month, the aim with the new units, he added, will be to keep rent lower than that.
Construction is slated to begin in the coming months.
To learn more
B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability in B.C. visit: .gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf