A group that has been dedicated to filling housing holes in the Greater Trail market is starting to look at vacant buildings and For Sale signs with a keen eye.
The Lower Columbia Community Development Team’s attainable housing committee has secured nearly $1 million in funding to purchase nine units in Greater Trail distributed among Trail, Fruitvale and probably Rossland, according to attainable housing committee chair Jan Morton.
“It’s thrilling, absolutely thrilling,” she said Thursday. “To go from study to action is marvellous.
“We’re very excited.”
After an extensive needs assessment and a closer look at specific households and housing needs, the committee’s push turned into action when its second application was accepted by the Affordable Rental Housing initiative, a partnership between the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) and BC Housing.
The partners granted the committee $925,000 for this project and funds were topped up with $25,000 from Kootenay Savings Credit Union and $10,000 from Teck Metals.
While Morton said it’s premature to start scouring the housing market, as there are steps to take through BC Housing that will likely take up to three months, she admitted the group is taking a preliminary look.
The units they wish to develop will likely be one-bedroom or at the very most two-bedroom suites in existing strata-title units or in downtown buildings that house apartments upstairs.
“Data shows us that the majority of households considered to be in housing need are either a single-person household or single-parent household, and that’s what we’d be targeting,” said Morton.
The committee plans on forming a separate society, Lower Columbia Housing Society, so the LCCDT doesn’t have to act as building owners.
“We will retain the attainable housing committee because it looks at broader then just affordable housing, it also looks generally at the condition and availability of market housing and so we don’t want to lose the capacity to pay attention to that end of the market as well and to be an advocate for what this community needs,” said Morton. “The independent society will be the owner and operator of these units and any additional units we manage to procure in the future.”