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CRD’s Housing First Program to deliver $60M of affordable housing for vulnerable Victorians

The Capital Regional District headquarters in downtown Victoria. Together with the Vancouver Island Health Authority and BC Housing, the regional district is seeking proposals from housing organizations and private sector developers to building $60 million worth of affordable housing on southern Vancouver Island.  Citified.ca

CRD’s Housing First Program to deliver $60M of affordable housing for vulnerable Victorians
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
The Capital Regional District together with the Vancouver Island Health Authority and BC Housing are seeking expressions of interest from non-profit housing providers, community groups and private sector firms to submit proposals for the development of self-sustaining affordable housing projects throughout Greater Victoria, Citified has learned.
 
$60 million has been earmarked under the Capital Regional District’s (CRD) Regional Housing First Program to significantly increase affordable rental housing on southern Vancouver Island while also addressing housing needs for persons struggling with homelessness. The funding is split evenly between BC Housing via the Provincial Investment in Affordable Housing program and the CRD together with the Capital Regional Hospital District.
 
Although exact details of the initiative have yet to be publicly disclosed, Citified has confirmed candidates will be rated based on their ability to deliver housing suitable for persons earning a low-to-moderate income while priority will be given to proposals that incorporate a portion of housing units that rent at provincial Income Assistance Rates without dependence on additional funding from the CRD or BC Housing.
 
Although projects focused on a wide range of population groups will be considered, priority will also be given to proposals focused primarily on indigenous persons experiencing homelessness, youth aged 16-to-25 experiencing homelessness and women fleeing violence.
 
According to documentation released by the CRD, the Regional Housing First Program’s funding will be provided in exchange for equity ownership in all undertakings while proponents will be tasked with managing any programs or services offered as part of each project, the collection of rents, tenant relations and building maintenance. All rental units must remain affordable for a minimum of 35 years while 10% of units must meet disability requirements.
 
The CRD has set a deadline of March 16th by which time expressions of interest from qualifying parties must be received. A BC Housing representative tells Citified that while limited information pertaining to the initiative is currently available, a public announcement will be made in the near future.
 
The $60 million funding pledge comes on the heels of a provincial announcement to assist two south Island housing providers with already underway affordable housing projects.
 
On February 7th the province committed $7.5 million in funding for Pacifica Housing's Oak Park development rising along the 600-block of Goldstream Avenue in Langford. The 73-unit building is expected to be completed by year's end. An additional $5.35 million has been earmarked for a 42-unit affordable housing project in Sooke by the Knox Vision Society. That project will be completed in 2019.
 
The provincial announcement itself came just days following an initiative revealed by the City of Victoria, School District #61 and Pacifica Housing that seeks to redevelop excess lands at the Burnside-Gorge neighbourhood's Burnside School into affordable housing. The school will be seismically upgraded and refurbished as part of the project and will absorb education services currently offered at the S.J. Willis Education Centre. The provincial government is expected to be a funding partner, although no costs or timelines have been formally announced. C
 

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