Martin Gardner from the Vancouver Resource Society speaks at Vernon news conference, as Housing Minister Selina Robinson looks on (Beach Radio News photo)
The BC government is providing 23 million dollars for affordable rental homes in Vernon.
Housing minister Selina Robinson says the province has purchased three properties to develop 41 new affordable rental homes, and to preserve 71 units of existing rental stock.
Two current apartment buildings, located on 27th Avenue, will remain and receive fire safety upgrades and other improvements.
Robinson says the Vancouver Resource Society will operate the two existing apartment buildings, and co-own and oversee the development of the new building.
“This has been a neglected area for a very long time — housing’s affordability crisis — right across the province. And it plays out differently in different communities. That’s what I’ve been hearing working with mayors and councils and regional districts across the province,” Robinson told CJIB News in an interview.
Rental rates for the new apartment are projected to be 787 dollars a month for one bedroom, and $962 for two bedrooms, targeting low to moderate income earners.
The new four storey building will be built at 2506 37th Street, current site of Vernon Moving and Storage, next to the existing buildings.
Martin Gardner from the Vancouver Resource Society says they are not that well known outside of the Lower Mainland.
“We’re a non profit organization. We’ve been around for almost four decades. We currently own and operate over 40 properties, primarily in the Lower Mainland but now expanding into the Interior,” said Gardner.
Robinson says the City of Vernon has been a great partner to work with on housing projects.
“I have to give kudos to Vernon. They were one of the first communities that said, ‘We’re ready, we’ve got land, we want to partner, we want to make this work,’ and we responded. We’re constantly looking for good partnerships to make sure we can address housing affordability across the province,” says Robinson.
Construction is expected to begin in the coming months, with the new building to be ready by 2020.
Robinson announced 11 million dollars in provincial funding last November for a new modular housing project, and a new modular shelter to address homelessness in Vernon.