New affordable homes coming to Fernie


September 14, 2020

FERNIE - Construction is starting on 49 new affordable rental homes for families and seniors in Fernie through a partnership between the Province, the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) and the Fernie Family Housing Society.

"It has been difficult for many people in B.C. to find safe, affordable housing, including areas in rural B.C." said Katrine Conroy, Minister Responsible for the Columbia Basin Trust. "These 49 new rental homes for families and seniors in Fernie will help people be able to stay in their community, close to loved ones, work, school and services they count on. Thanks to CBT and the Fernie Family Housing Society for partnering with the government to make this project a reality."

Located on a vacant portion of 1301 4th Ave., the project for families and seniors with low to moderate incomes includes a 35-unit apartment building and 14 townhouse units. The development will also include a children's play area that will serve the entire site.

The project is centrally located, within close proximity to amenities and services. Isabella Dicken Elementary school is adjacent to the site, and Fernie Secondary school and Elk Valley Hospital are located behind the site.

Residents are expected to move into the building in late fall 2021.

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

Quotes:

Ange Qualizza, mayor, City of Fernie -

"The 49 units represent the first purpose-built rental complex in Fernie in 20 years. The project addresses specific needs identified in the 2017 City of Fernie/West Fernie Affordable Housing Strategy, and the location is ideal for families with children. The city is pleased to support initiatives that promote multi-family housing, active transportation and affordability as part of our commitment to a healthy and resilient community."

Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust -

"This is the first time in several years that rental housing has been built in Fernie, so these units will greatly help many local families, seniors and individuals live in suitable, affordable homes. The number of organizations partnering to make this project come true is impressive, and we're glad we were able to tailor our resources to support their efforts. Congratulations to the entire community of Fernie."

Jill Gilhuly, board member, Fernie Family Housing Society -

"The mission of the Fernie Family Housing Society is strengthening the community by enhancing access for residents to safe and affordable housing. With the support of our funding providers, BC Housing and the Columbia Basin Trust, we are pleased to be moving closer to providing new rental housing options for residents of Fernie."

Quick Facts:

  • The Province is providing approximately $1.4 million from the Building BC: Community Housing Fund and annual operating funding of approximately $71,000 for the 14 townhouse units.
  • The Province and the CBT are providing a combined grant of approximately $4.6 million for the 35-unit apartment building.
  • Rents are projected to range from approximately $600 to $1,600 per month:
    • The apartment units will rent from $770 (one bedroom) to $1,500 (three bedroom).
    • The townhouse units will rent from $600 to $1,400 (two bedroom) and $690 to $1,600 (three bedroom).

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:
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Media Relations
778 584-1255

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 with non-profits, municipalities, First Nations, Indigenous housing organizations and the private sector 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 23,000 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 Dec. 31, 2019, this includes:

Housing for people with middle incomes

The average annual household income qualifying for homes underway is under $99,000 per year:

  • HousingHub: 2,802 homes

Housing for people with low to moderate incomes

This includes people residing in social housing (household incomes less than $65,000) as well as those living in affordable market rentals (households with annual incomes up to $74,000) – 9,837 homes:

Affordable market:

  • Building BC: Community Housing Fund (30% of units in each project): 1,565 rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes
  • Affordable Rental Housing Program: 1,615 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
  • Deepening Affordability Fund: 1,976 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
  • Regional Housing First Program: 907 homes for people with low to moderate incomes

Social housing or subsidized rents:

  • Building BC: Community Housing Fund (50% of units in each project): 2,609 rental homes for people with low incomes
  • Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund: 1,165 homes for Indigenous peoples, on- and off- reserve

Housing for people with very low incomes

Rental housing for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, or for people with very low incomes (includes supportive housing and shelter-rate housing) – 4,795 homes:

  • Rapid Response to Homelessness: 2,012 homes with 24/7 support
  • Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund: 1,060 homes with 24/7 support
  • Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund: 679 spaces of transition, second-stage and affordable rental housing for women and children leaving violence
  • Building BC: Community Housing Fund (20% of units in each project): 1,044 homes

Housing for students – 5,584 homes:

  • BC Student Housing Loan Program: 2,699 on-campus student housing units are under construction, in development or in the approvals process
  • 2,885 student housing units are also completed, under construction or in development through partnerships with post-secondary institutions

Total: 23,018 homes

Media Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
778 584-2433

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org