PRINCE GEORGE – Indigenous Elders and seniors have a new place to call home in Prince George, with the official opening of an affordable apartment complex in the community.
“Finding an affordable place to live can be a struggle for Elders and seniors on fixed incomes,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “They need more housing options so they can continue to stay in their communities when they want to downsize. We are committed to working in partnership, to build more homes like these, to help British Columbians throughout the province.”
The three-storey building, with 27 one-bedroom units, was designed and built to adaptable and accessibility standards to allow low- to moderate-income Elders and seniors to age in place. Accessibility features include wide doorways, low countertops and wheel-in showers with grab bars.
“The city has been working very hard to attract additional housing to our community that is appropriate for all of our residents, and this project certainly meets those needs,” said Lyn Hall, mayor, City of Prince George. “Beyond the wonderful accessibility features, this building also sets a new standard for our community with regards to landscaping that features outdoor amenities, and fosters interaction among residents.”
Located at 1811 Spruce, St., the building is called Ts'oo Yoh, meaning House of Spruce. It is being operated by the Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George.
“We are excited for the opportunity to provide housing for the Elders and seniors of this community on Lheidli T’enneh territory,” said Christos Vardacostas, executive director of the Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George. “This will be a thriving community for many Elder and senior individuals, and couples, calling Ts’oo Yoh home. This represents (the beginning of) a shift in affordable housing in urban Prince George on Lheidli T’enneh territory.”
Rental rates are from $667 to $765 per month.
- The Province provided $4.3 million in capital funding, and $1.25 million in construction financing, for the project.
- The Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George provided land equity valued at $276,000, and contributed $1 million cash equity.
- The City of Prince George provided financial assistance through a 10-year municipal tax exemption on the value of the improvements, as well as waiving the development cost charges and development fees for the project.
- M’akola Development Services contributed in-kind services of $250,000.
- Budget 2018 launched the most significant investment in housing affordability in B.C. history – more than $7 billion over 10 years. Indigenous housing, and greater supports for low-income seniors, are priority investments.
- Through the new Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund, the British Columbia government will invest $550 million over 10 years to build and operate 1,750 new units of social housing for projects, both on- and off-reserve, and has opened up all other new housing funds for Indigenous applications.
- Starting Sept. 1, 2018, more than 17,000 low-income seniors will see their rent supplements increase by an average $930 per year, and 700 new senior households will become eligible for the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters program.
Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians:
For information on actions taken to date: