The Province of B.C. has facilitated the purchase of a 41-unit apartment building in Port Alberni in order to allow residents to remain in their units at a considerably lower rental rate.
The King George Apartments, located at 3131 5th Ave, provides one- and two-bedroom units at a lower cost than the average market rent in the area.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Port Alberni had leased the apartment building for the past nine years, offering tenants rental fees at approximately $500 to $633 per month.
According to the Province, the building was recently listed for sale, however, CMHA wanted to find a way to secure affordable housing for its clients and ensure rental rates were not impacted by a private purchase.
“With this affordable housing building for sale, there was a real chance that whoever purchased it would redevelop the site or raise rents significantly,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “By purchasing this building, we are making sure that people in the community continue to have rental homes they can afford.”
The government says that CMHA received a grant of $3 million and low-interest financing of $1.86 million from the Province to purchase the building.
“Considering the current, critical housing shortage in Port Alberni, we are relieved to be able to secure these below-market rentals for the future,” said Katrina Kiefer, executive director, CMHA Port Alberni. “This purchase will provide stable, safe, affordable homes indefinitely, allowing CMHA to continue to provide services to our population-focused around community wellness. We are grateful for the past generosity of the building owner and the provincial government, through BC Housing, for its forward-thinking actions that made this housing possible.”
The sale of the building closed on May 11, 2021, with no disruption or change for tenants.
In addition to these purchased 41 affordable homes, there are another 172 new homes completed or underway in Port Alberni, adds the government.