Province announces funding for affordable housing project in Victoria

WatchWhile the City of Victoria continues to struggle through a housing crisis, there is some help on the way. The province officially announcing the development of 130 affordable rental units in the downtown core, to be built along with a new number one fire hall.

The Provincial Government announced on Friday that it will be partnering with Pacifica Housing and Dalmatian Developments to build 130 new affordable rental homes in downtown Victoria.

The homes will be part of a mixed-use project at 1025 Johnson St. that will include a new fire hall.

Provincial funding for the project will include $19 million distributed through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund as well as annual operating funding.

“Affordable housing projects like this are long overdue in Victoria and throughout British Columbia,” said BC Finance Minister Carole James, in a statement released on Friday. “Alongside our community partners, we’re taking action to ensure more people in Victoria have a safe and affordable place to call home.”

The project is the first phase of a mixed-use community development and future phases will see the addition of over 370 market-rate homes as well as dedicated public spaces and commercial and retail opportunities.

Of the 130 affordable units, the projected rent mix will be:

  • 26 studios and one-bedroom units for people with low incomes (i.e., people receiving income assistance): $375;
  • 65 rent-geared-to-income units (people with low to moderate incomes): approximately $640 (one-bedroom units) to $840 (two-bedroom units); and
  • 39 middle-income units: approximately $1,750 (two-bedroom units) to $2,000 (three-bedroom units).

“Victoria has an acute shortage of affordable rental housing,” said Margaret Eckenfelder, executive director, Pacifica Housing. “The 130 new homes will improve the lives of families, children and individuals in our community and ensure that Victoria remains vibrant and diverse. Pacifica is excited to be part of this unique partnership and hopes that it can provide a model for future much-needed affordable developments.”

The Province says that this project is part of a shared priority between the government and the BC Green Party as part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Mayor Lisa Helps, while grateful for the project, says it will take much more to end the City’s housing crisis, “By 2038 we need 34,000 new rental units in the capital region so as you would imagine 130 units is a small dent.”

The Finance Minister remains adamant that the Province will continue to tackle the issue. “We have 22,000 housing units now underway or being built that will make a huge difference in simply two years, more to do you bet, but we’re not stopping here this is just the start,” said James.

The new affordable housing is poised to break ground in January, but over at the Fairfield Hotel 62 units are at risk of being lost.

“We haven’t given up on the Fairfield hotel yet… everyone who’s involved should work as hard as possible to ensure that those 62 units at the Fairfield hotel remain as part of the rental housing stock,” said Helps.

Pacifica Housing, who runs the Fairfield units decided last month that the building does not properly meet the needs of tenants and will be working on a relocation plan. The tenants will be evicted by August of 2020.




Ben NesbitBen Nesbit

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