These 5 Kootenay cities are getting more affordable

118 new affordable housing units are coming to Cranbrook, Fernie, Nelson, Trail and Valemount

An artist’s depiction of what the new affordable housing apartment building will look like in Cranbrook.

Located at 126 and 130 21st Avenue South, the Cranbrook apartment building will be a redevelopment of a BC Housing-owned property and will provide affordable housing for low- to moderate-income individuals, families and seniors. — Image courtesy City of Cranbrook

The B.C. housing crisis is being addressed, thanks to the Columbia Basin Trust. The Trust is providing nearly $1.5 million to help build 118 new affordable housing units in Cranbrook, Fernie, Nelson, Trail and Valemount.

“An Expression of Interest was issued by BC Housing in 2018 for affordable housing projects across B.C.,” said Mark Brunton, Columbia Basin Trust senior manager, delivery of benefits. “The Trust supported these five projects from the Basin that are expected to commence construction in 2019 and be complete by 2021.”

In Cranbrook, the Aqanttanam Housing Society will be bolstering the number of affordable housing units it owns and manages. Aqanttanam Housing Society currently has 56 units and will be building a new 39-unit apartment building on a property it owns.

In Trail, Lower Columbia Affordable Housing will be developing new independent rental housing for low-income families and seniors. The new building will house nine, one- to three-bedroom units in a three-storey building that includes an elevator. The building will be located in East Trail by the Columbia River, a central location that will offer residents an easy walking distance to downtown.

The Fernie Family Housing Society is building 14 townhouses for families.

The Valemount Affordable Rentals Society will be building 13 units for low-income seniors and families.

The Nelson CARES Society will be constructing a 43-unit apartment building, providing spaces of varying sizes, from studio units up to three-bedroom units suitable for two licensed group homes.

Allocating funding

The Trust distributed funds based on the number of units for each project and the project needs. For example, a two-bedroom project will receive a higher grant than a one-bedroom or studio-sized project.

The vast majority of the homes (70 per cent) will be targeted to low-income tenants, with rent based on the individual’s income. These rents may vary per unit and are considered affordable when 30 per cent or less of the household’s gross income goes for housing costs. The remaining homes (30 per cent) will be targeted to moderate-income tenants with fixed rents set below market rates.

“The entire community benefits when there is safe and affordable housing available,” Brunton said. “These housing projects will help those with low to moderate incomes, including seniors, individuals and families.”

People interested in being tenants can apply directly to the non-profit societies listed and they can also access The Housing Registry on the BC Housing website.

Besides the emphasis on affordability, the projects are expected to be energy efficient and made of quality construction material.

Since 2002 the Trust, in partnership with BC Housing and non-profit housing providers, has helped create over 1,000 affordable rental housing units and supported upgrades and repairs to over 1,000 existing affordable housing units.

Kyle Born

Kyle Born is a writer for Kootenay Business and his initials match that of the magazine—it must be fate that brought them together. View all of Kyle Born’s articles

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