New affordable housing units inched closer to reality in Trail this week with a $900,000 nod from BC Housing.
On Tuesday, the province announced that help was on the way for projects in 42 communities, one of those being spearheaded in Trail by the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society. The plan is to build a new structure that will house both low income seniors and low income families.
“First of all, I certainly want to say on behalf of the society, that we’re delighted to have been given the green-light to move to the next step,” said Jan Morton, society chair. “And the next step really is going into more detailed project development.”
In its proposal to BC Housing, the society submitted high level plans in terms of what the housing concept would be.
“Which is one building, with nine units of housing, and the rents will be affordable for lower income people, ” Morton explained. “We anticipate that probably three of those units would be suitable for seniors and five for families of varying sizes. But we do need to go to more detailed levels of architectural design, costing analysis, and there are other steps of due diligence that we need to complete, then we go to final project approval.”
The society has identified potential land to use, but at this point, Morton did not want to give specifics on location.
“Other than to say it is close to services in downtown Trail,” she clarified.
“What we’ve been given is the green-light to proceed to the next phase, and I’m pretty sure we will pass the next phase because we’ve got a really good plan, but it is a step process.”
The city’s first new affordable housing complex, located in East Trail near the Skywalk, opened to tenants earlier this year.
To qualify as a renter for that locale, the maximum household income for a single person cannot exceed $31,700 or for two people, $39,400. All units are non-smoking, have a limited pet policy, and the tenant must be a resident of the Lower Columbia region and be able to live independently.
In addition to the East Trail site, which accommodates two single-bedroom and two two-bedroom apartments, the society purchased and renovated a two-unit home in West Trail for renters, and a three-unit complex in Rossland.
Housing projects announced on Tuesday, are part of the province’s new Building BC: Community Housing Fund, a $1.9-billion commitment over 10 years, to build more than 14,000 affordable rental homes for seniors, families and low- and middle-income earners, with many to include child care.
This first set of projects will see 4,900+ new rental units across B.C., including the nine in Trail, involve both non-profits and co-ops, and will be built over the next two to three years.
The Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society was established four years ago when the Affordable Rental Housing Initiative program funded by Columbia Basin Trust, the Government of Canada and the Province of B.C. approved $925,000 in capital funding to develop affordable rental housing for low income and moderate income households in the region. A further $25,000 was contributed by Kootenay Savings Credit Union and $10,000 by Teck Metals Ltd.