VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The BC government is investing close to $1.9 billion over the next 10 years to build 14,000 affordable homes for renters as part of a plan to curb the ongoing housing crisis that doesn’t just include low-income earners.
Under the new Building BC Community Housing Fund, the province will partner with municipalities, non-profit groups and housing co-operatives to build the homes.
Each project built under the fund must provide at least 30 per cent of the units for those with moderate incomes, 20 per cent for low incomes and half of the homes must be for a mixture of low- to moderate-income households.
“Fifty per cent will be rent income, 30 per cent are market driven and 20 per cent will be subsidized housing, so again, trying to capture the continuum of housing needs in the community,” Premier John Horgan said, adding the first units should open within the next couple of years. “The first $335 million goes out the door now.”
Horgan said fixing the housing crisis isn’t just about home ownership, but making sure those who rent can find a place to live for a while.
The premier hasn’t given details on where these rental units will be built, but says the province will prioritize based on need and increasing affordability.
Despite a third of the homes going to moderate income earners, Horgan says that won’t mean a surge in one-bedroom condos.
“There’s a clamouring for more family-appropriate housing in locations that make sense for families and we’re going to shape the program to that as we do calls for expressions of interest and flow money to the providers,” Horgan said.
Quick Facts (source: BC government)
- 30 per cent of the units will be for households with moderate incomes
- These are defined as household incomes up to $71,200 for homes with fewer than two bedrooms, or up to $104,000 for homes with two or more bedrooms
- 50 per cent of the units will be for low- to moderate-income households
The money is part of the 10-year $7 billion housing investment outlined in the NDP’s last budget.
“People are struggling in the midst of this housing crisis. We need to do everything we can to make housing more affordable,” adds Housing Minister Selina Robinson. “Through the Community Housing Fund, people who have been squeezed out of the tight rental market will be able to find a place to call their own, so they can stay in their community.”
Last week the province launched a new task force to look at rental housing that will examine the market and report back in the fall.
During the election last year, the NDP promised a $400 annual renters grant, but has since put that on the backburner, saying it will be implemented some time before the next election.