Want out of the rent trap? Habitat for Humanity is pitching a solution for 14 Saanich families

Want out of the rent trap? Habitat for Humanity is pitching a solution for 14 Saanich families
Habitat for Humanity/submitted
Habitat for Humanity hopes to build 14 two-level duplexes in Saanich to offer families a chance to buy a home.

As the current housing crisis continues, Habitat for Humanity is hoping to offer 14 Greater Victoria families who would not normally qualify for a traditional mortgage a way to break out of the rent trap.

Habitat for Humanity has submitted a development application to the District of Saanich to put up 14 two-level duplexes. Thirteen of the Gordon Head homes will be family-sized with three bedrooms; one will be a fully accessible one-bedroom.

“We’re reasonably confident given this area, given the need for infill housing in the Gordon Head area. It’s such a fantastic family neighbourhood with schools and greenspace nearby, that this was an ideal space for 14 families to call home,” Scott Dutchak, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Victoria, told CHEK News.

They’re so confident, they’ve already bought a lot on Feltham Road in Gordon Head and have submitted plans to Saanich

“This truly is the built form that is missing middle,” said Dutchak, referring to the new provincial mandate.

There is, however, a massive distinction from that provincial mandate. These duplexes will be made available, to own.

The mortgages are targeted towards those who typically wouldn’t qualify. Habitat for Humanity is offering a tailor-made mortgage, assessed each year to be only 30 per cent of the family’s income.

“We’re confident we’re going to be 20 to 30 per cent cheaper than market housing for sure for the same type of product,” said Dutchak.

The $7 to 8 million project, funded by surplus from their refit stores, now faces Saanich city hall where they wait to hear the results of their application to rezone and fine tune the details.

“Because it’s being proposed by a non-profit housing provider, it will be prioritized in the internal review process,” Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock told CHEK News.

Murdock says the application still needs to be fully assessed but looks promising.

“We build a lot of family homes and condos and apartment buildings that get constructed but that classic missing middle,” said Dutchak. “Three bedroom places that are probably in closer price range for buyers than what a single-family home might be, are not in abundant supply. We want to see more of those family suitable homes in our community.”

BC Housing says more than 32,000 people are waiting for subsidized housing in our province, more than a thousand of those applicants are in Victoria, 300 of which are families looking for housing tied to income.

To qualify, applicants have to have a household income of less than $120,000, are willing to provide 500 hours of community service, and willing to partner with Habitat for Humanity.

People can find out more and apply online on Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s webpage.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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