More affordable rental homes on the way for Victoria


November 22, 2019

VICTORIA – People with low and middle incomes in Victoria will benefit from 130 new affordable rental homes in the downtown area.

“Affordable housing projects like this are long overdue in Victoria and throughout British Columbia,” said Carole James, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill. “Alongside our community partners, we’re taking action to ensure more people in Victoria have a safe and affordable place to call home.”

The Province is partnering with Pacifica Housing and Dalmatian Developments to build the new homes at 1025 Johnson St. The 130 homes will be the largest purpose-built affordable rental project of its kind in downtown Victoria and will be located in a mixed-use building above a new fire hall.

“This is the first new affordable housing to be built for people in our downtown in more than 20 years,” said Lisa Helps, mayor, City of Victoria. “It’s exactly the kind of response to the housing crisis we need from community-minded companies like these, working in partnership with the provincial government and our local housing providers. This project also brings our community a new home for our Fire Hall #1 that will meet the highest standard for a post-disaster public safety building.”

Pacifica Housing is receiving $19 million from the Province’s Building BC: Community Housing Fund, as well as annual operating funding, for the project. People in need of affordable rental housing will have access to studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom homes ranging in size from 365 to 1,011 square feet.

“Victoria has an acute shortage of affordable rental housing,” said Margaret Eckenfelder, executive director, Pacifica Housing. “The 130 new homes will improve the lives of families, children and individuals in our community and ensure that Victoria remains vibrant and diverse. Pacifica is excited to be part of this unique partnership and hopes that it can provide a model for future much-needed affordable developments.”

Dalmatian Developments is building the structure as Phase 1 of a mixed-use community. More than 370 market-rate homes will be built in the remaining phases of the development that will also include a diverse mix of commercial, retail and restaurants, as well as dedicated public spaces, including a 2,700-square-foot public plaza.

“We’re very proud to be a partner in building these affordable rental homes as the first phase of a vibrant and inclusive community in downtown Victoria,” said Elizabeth Jawl, director, Dalmatian Developments and Jawl Residential. “Working collaboratively with BC Housing, Pacifica Housing and the City of Victoria, we have achieved affordability through innovation, investment and dedication, and we hope this is the first of many projects we work on together.“

These 130 homes are part of the more than 22,000 new homes that are complete or underway throughout B.C. because of provincial investments.

Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • This housing development is funded through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, a $1.9-billion investment over 10 years to build more than 14,000 mixed-income rental homes throughout the province.
  • The projected rent mix will be:
    • 26 studios and one-bedroom units for people with low incomes (i.e., people receiving income assistance): $375;
    • 65 rent-geared-to-income units (people with low to moderate incomes): approximately $640 (one-bedroom units) to $840 (two-bedroom units); and
    • 39 middle-income units: approximately $1,750 (two-bedroom units) to $2,000 (three-bedroom units)
  • The Province is working in partnership to increase the supply of affordable rental housing in Victoria. Through government’s Building BC program, there are more than 680 homes complete or underway in Victoria, with an additional 782 student homes being delivered at the University of Victoria.

Learn More:

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/

A backgrounder follows.

Contacts:

Darren Harbord
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
250 882-8518

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org

BACKGROUNDER

Province building new homes to meet full spectrum of housing needs

The B.C. government is working in partnership to build 114,000 affordable homes that cover the full spectrum of housing needs for British Columbians by 2028.

Budget 2018 included a $7-billion investment in the homes people need. As a result of that investment, more than 22,000 new homes are completed, under construction or in the approvals process for a range of people who are struggling to find a place to live, from people who are experiencing homelessness and seniors on fixed incomes, to middle-income families, students and individuals. As of Aug. 31, 2019, this includes:

Housing for middle-income earners (households with annual incomes between $50,000 and $150,000) – approximately 4,120 homes:

  • Building BC: Community Housing Fund: approximately 1,500 rental homes for people with middle incomes.
  • HousingHub: approximately 2,620 homes.

Housing for people with low to moderate incomes (including some where rents are based on 30% of household income and others with set rents, which are designed to be affordable; to moderate-income households, in most cases earning less than $70,000 annually) – approximately 9,320 homes:

  • Building BC: Community Housing Fund: approximately 3,700 rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes.
  • Affordable Rental Housing Program: nearly 1,600 homes for low to moderate incomes.
  • Deepening Affordability Fund: more than 2,150 homes for low to moderate incomes.
  • Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund: approximately 1,170 homes for Indigenous peoples, on- and off-reserve.
  • Regional Housing First Program: approximately 700 homes for people with low to moderate incomes.

Housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness (shelter-rate housing) – approximately 3,060 homes:

  • Rapid Response to Homelessness: 2,064 homes with 24/7 support.
  • Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund: approximately 800 homes with 24/7 support.
  • Regional Housing First Program: approximately 200 homes for those ready to live independently with supports.

Housing for women and children leaving violence – approximately 360 homes:

  • Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund: approximately 360 spaces of transition, second-stage and affordable rental housing for women and children leaving violence.

Housing for students – approximately 5,600 homes:

  • BC Student Housing Loan Program: approximately 2,700 on-campus student housing units are underway or in the approvals process.
  • Nearly 2,900 student housing units are also underway or in development through partnerships with post-secondary institutions.

Total: approximately 22,460 homes

Media Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
778 584-2433

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org