The Regional Housing First Program (RHFP) will create at least 268 supported and affordable housing units at provincial shelter rates and at least 175 housing units affordable to low and moderate income households in the region.

The Implementation Plan, approved in September 2016, provides a planned approach to support the development of affordable housing units in mixed-market projects that address the needs of both people experiencing chronic homelessness and low to moderate households in the region

Background

On Dec. 9, 2015 The Capital Regional District Board unanimously voted to allow the CRD to borrow up to $30 million incrementally to fund affordable or supportive housing projects in conjunction with the existing borrowing authority of the CRHD (for designated health facilities). This was subject to:

  • agreement by the British Columbia Housing Management Commission and the Province to match this funding
  • the provincial government contributing through its ministries and agencies sufficient funding for the social and healthcare support services to complement the projects that receive capital funding from the CRD/CRHD and BC Housing.

The CRD also directed staff to develop a policy and program framework to support the utilization of these housing development funds for supportive and affordable housing purposes across the Spectrum in partnership with BC Housing and in consultation with Island Health, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and other social service agencies and local, provincial and federal authorities.

In May 2016, the CRD entered into a Partnering Agreement with the BC Housing Management Commission (BCHMC) and Vancouver Island Health Authority (Island Health) through which the Province has committed to contribute a matching $30 million to the RHFP.

Island Health has agreed to align its existing mental health and substance services with new affordable housing opportunities developed through the RHFP. The CRD Board further directed staff to develop a plan to support the implementation of the RHFP.

A call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) went to non-profit housing providers, the private sector, and other community groups from October to December 2016. The EOI offered an opportunity for projects that create affordable rental homes to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness as well as low-to moderate-income families and individuals in the capital region.