THE British Columbia government is providing funding to build 14,000 new rental homes throughout the province to help make housing more affordable for seniors, families, and low- and middle-income seniors, Premier John Horgan announced on Wednesday.
“We’re building British Columbia by investing in homes for people who live and work in our communities,” said Horgan. “Fixing the housing crisis is not just about ownership. It’s about making sure that British Columbians who rent rather than own can find homes they can afford and have a future in.”
Through the new Building BC Community Housing Fund, government will invest close to $1.9 billion over 10 years to deliver safe, secure and affordable housing for B.C. renters. This housing will be built through partnerships with municipalities, non-profits and co-ops.
“People are struggling in the midst of this housing crisis. We need to do everything we can to make housing more affordable,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Through the Community Housing Fund, people who have been squeezed out of the tight rental market will be able to find a place to call their own, so they can stay in their community.”
BC Housing is issuing requests for proposals to identify prospective partners, including non-profit societies, housing co-operatives and municipalities, which want to develop and operate mixed-income rental housing projects.
“Providing new affordable rentals for low- to moderate-income families and individuals keeps them living and working in our city,” said City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “We look forward to working with the Province on developing new, affordable housing for the city.”
Projects will be prioritized based on a number of criteria, including targeted clients and the impact the project would have in reducing the community’s affordable rental housing need.
“Non-profit housing providers have been anxiously awaiting this day – the launch of a historic investment in affordable housing,” said Dean Fortin, Executive Director, Pacifica Housing. “We all know the fundamental importance of decent housing to enable the building of strong and resilient families and children and how important quality housing is to individuals in determining a quality of life every citizen deserves.”
* Each project built under the Building BC: Community Housing Fund will reflect the following mix of incomes:
* 30% of the units will be for households with moderate incomes.
* These are defined as household incomes up to $71,200 for homes with fewer than two bedrooms, or up to $104,000 for homes with two or more bedrooms.
* 50% of the units will be for low- to moderate-income households.
* These are defined as household incomes below the Housing Income Limits, which range from $21,000 to $95,000, depending on the community and the unit size. Housing Income Limits represent the income needed to pay the average market rent. Average rents are derived from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) annual Rental Market Survey.
* Rents for these units will be targeted at the CMHC definition of affordability, at or below 30% of the household income.
* 20% of the units will be for households with low incomes.
* Households requiring a deeper level of subsidy, such as those receiving income assistance. These are incomes below $15,000 to $30,000, depending on unit size.
* Budget 2018 launched the biggest investment in housing affordability in B.C. history: more than $7 billion over 10 years.
* The Province has set a target of creating 114,000 new homes, including affordable market rental, non-profit, co-op, supported social housing and owner-purchase housing through partnerships.