Grants Approved for Development of Affordable Rental Housing

Jun 09, 2016

Victoria, BC– The Capital Regional District (CRD) Board has approved the recommendation to award three Regional Housing Trust Fund (RHTF) grants totalling $1,029,300 to assist the Victoria Native Friendship Centre Society, the Greater Victoria Housing Society and the Greater Victoria Rental Development Society in the development of new supportive and affordable rental housing in the region.

Siem Lelum House, 120 Gorge Road East, Victoria

The preliminary total capital cost of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre Society project is approximately $5 million for the development of 41 units of supportive housing for low income families. The RHTF contribution is valued at $30,000, in addition to the $600,000 previously approved for the project, and will support the development of two additional units within Phase Two of Siem Lelum House.

Townley Lodge, 1780 Townley Road, Saanich

The existing Greater Victoria Housing Society affordable rental apartment will be redeveloped as 53 units of affordable housing targeted towards sheltering low income seniors and families with children. The RHTF contribution is valued at $450,500.

The Aranza, 9818-9830 Fourth Street, Sidney

The preliminary total capital cost of the Greater Victoria Rental Development Society project is approximately $17 million for the development of 56 affordable rental units marketed as workforce housing to help address a shortage of lower priced rental housing for low to moderate income workers in the area. The RHTF contribution is valued at $548,800.

“These new facilities will provide much needed economic relief for those most in need,” said Barbara Desjardins, CRD Board Chair. “We are pleased to be part of the solution by providing affordable housing to residents in our region.”

“Housing affordability affects a wide range of people in different communities, which makes it a regional priority,” said Charlayne Thornton-Joe, Chair of the Regional Housing Trust Fund Commission. “Supporting these projects means there will be more affordable units available to address the needs of vulnerable population and support economic sustainability throughout the region.”

Earlier this year, additional applications to the RHTF were deferred while the CRD explores ways to use the funds raised through the annual requisition to finance the borrowing costs associated with the $30 million of investment recently approved by the CRD Board for the Regional Housing First Program.

For more information on the Regional Housing Trust Fund, visit our website.

The Housing Trust Fund is a key implementation initiative of the Regional Housing Affordability Strategy. The Fund was established by the CRD Board in 2005, in recognition that housing affordability is a regional priority and key issue in the Capital Region.

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For media inquiries, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications
Tel: 250.360.3229
Cell: 250.216.5492

Backgrounder:

Siem Lelum House, 120 Gorge Road East, Victoria - Victoria Native Friendship Centre Society

  • In July of 2010, the City of Victoria purchased a former Travellers Inn at 120 Gorge Road East and entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC) to develop and operate 39 units of affordable, supportive housing for Aboriginal families and youth.
  • At their June 15, 2011 meeting, the CRD Board approved a grant of $600,000 from the Regional Housing Trust Fund be awarded to Victoria Native Friendship Centre to create 39 units of family/single housing.
  • Since that time, one of the original buildings was renovated to create 26 units of supportive housing and all units have been occupied since the renovations were completed.
  • Demolition of the second building is complete and construction of a new 15 unit building will commence in the spring of 2016 bringing the total number of units on-site to 41.
  • This project will help address the needs of low-income Aboriginal people in the region as the projected rents will be affordable to households with incomes between $22,000 and $30,000.
  • The residents will be provided with tenant support services related to life skills development, financial literacy, home maintenance and energy conservation.
  • Residents will also be provided with linkages to education, employment and other social support services as part of their tenancy agreement.
  • Programs and services will be delivered within a context that reflects Aboriginal culture and staff will be trained in cultural sensitivity and social inclusion skills.

Townley Lodge, 1780 Townley Road, Saanich - Greater Victoria Housing Society

  • The Greater Victoria Housing Society (GVHS) was founded in 1956 and currently operates 739 units of housing throughout the region.
  • Over the past decade the GVHS has accessed Regional Housing Trust Fund grants to support the successful completion of over 164 new units of affordable rental housing throughout the region.
  • The property is currently owned by the GVHS where it operates 39 units of affordable rental housing for seniors. The new development will include the demolition of the existing rental property to be replaced with 53 new affordable rental apartments for low income seniors and 16 affordable rental townhouses targeting low income families.
  • The proposed development will be built to Passive House certified standards, which aligns with the CRD's interest in environmental protection and climate action.
  • This redevelopment will provide 14 additional rental housing units for low-income seniors and 16 new affordable rental townhouses for low to moderate income households with children.
  • The proposed site is close to Hillside Centre, major commercial and health services, public transit routes and local schools.

The Aranza, 9818-9830 Fourth Street, Sidney - Greater Victoria Rental Development Society

  • The project will include the creation of 56 affordable rental units – 29 small one-bedroom, 15 one bedroom and 12 two-bedroom – and is intended to be marketed as workforce housing to help address a shortage of lower priced rental housing for low to moderate income workers in the area.
  • The Greater Victoria Rental Development Society (GVRDS) has developed and currently operates Loreen Place, which provides 52 units of affordable rental housing at 21 Gorge Road East. The applicant was also a partner in the development of 68 units of affordable rental housing in a project at 35 Gorge Road East.
  • GVRDS is currently developing a 65 unit affordable rental housing project at 1950 Blanshard Street.
  • All of these developments are within the boundaries of the City of Victoria and each project received capital grants through the RHTF.
  • The proposed development is GVRDS’s first outside the boundaries of Victoria. The applicant plans to create 43,050 square feet of residential, 13,454 square feet of commercial and 18,500 square feet of parking space in a combined concrete and wood frame four-story structure.
  • This development will be built in one of the faster growing employment areas in the region where there is a demonstrated need for more affordable workforce housing.
  • The proposed site is central to the Town of Sidney and is close to all relevant services.