SOOKE - Two new housing projects are on the way to Sooke that will provide 75 affordable rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes, along with 33 supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness in the community.
"Everyone deserves safe and secure housing. After so many years, these new homes will mean more people and families in Sooke have the affordable housing and support they need," said Premier John Horgan, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. "We're making progress, but these are still big challenges for people - we're going to keep working with dedicated partners like M'akola Housing Society to build more homes people can afford throughout B.C."
Construction is expected to begin this month on the 75 new affordable rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes at 2170 Charters Rd. The building will provide studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom homes for individuals, Elders, seniors and families.
The building is estimated to open in 2022. The project is a partnership between the Province, M'akola Housing Society, the federal government and the Capital Regional District.
In addition, the Province, through BC Housing, has purchased the Hope Centre at 6750 West Coast Rd. from M'akola and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Vancouver Island. The building will undergo renovations to accommodate 33 supportive homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, a service hub with six shelter beds, programming space for training/outreach services and a commercial kitchen.
The plan is to gradually transition the building into supportive housing over the coming months. The Sooke Shelter society will operate the new building with staff on site 24/7 to provide support services to residents, including life skills training, mentorship and other programming. Partnering agencies, including Island Health and Aids Vancouver Island, will be on site to support residents' access to mental health and other health services.
The Hope Centre currently provides rental homes for people with low incomes. M'akola has already reached out to current residents, who will be able to stay if they wish to. The society will work with these residents to discuss their future plans and support those who wish to transition to other housing options.
A community advisory committee (CAC) will be formed, which will include project partners and neighbourhood representatives. The CAC will oversee the project's integration within the community and help address any concerns that may arise.
Ahmed Hussen, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation -
"Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. That's why our government is happy to support these types of developments, which will provide residents of Sooke with more affordable housing options. This is the National Housing Strategy at work!"
David Eby, B.C.'s Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing -
"We know that communities like Sooke need a mix of supportive and affordable housing so people with a range of incomes and needs have access to a safe and comfortable place to call home. These new homes will help make life better for individuals and families in their community."
Maja Tait, mayor, District of Sooke -
"On behalf of the District of Sooke, I am grateful to BC Housing, M'akola Housing, the Sooke Shelter Society and many other agencies, which are working in collaboration and co-ordination to support our community to have access to affordable and supportive housing. I would like to recognize and thank these agencies for the tremendous resources they have put into these projects. So much work has been taking place behind the scenes to invest in the well-being of our people, and today's announcement is the culmination of those efforts."
Kevin Albers, CEO, M'akola Housing Society -
"We are continuing our important work in the community of Sooke, serving our existing tenants at the Hope Centre while also expanding affordable housing options through the development of a new housing project in Sooke, which will serve more families, Elders and individuals."
Colin Plant, board chair, Capital Regional District -
"There's an urgent need for more housing people can afford in our region. As part of the Regional Housing First Program, the Charters project enables us to create the right mix of affordable housing opportunities that low- and middle-income people can afford, while also making sure people in greatest need have access to safe, secure housing with the right support services in place to help them succeed."
Sherry Thompson, president, Sooke Shelter Society -
"Sooke Shelter Society is excited that 33 supportive housing units will soon be available for our community's most vulnerable residents at a time when they are needed more than ever. These projects are an important step in advancing the continuum of care for those experiencing homelessness and will provide residents with many of the supports they need to move forward with their lives. We look forward to operating this new facility and thank all of our partners who have worked together to make this a reality."
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.
Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing
Funding for Sooke housing projects
- The federal and provincial governments, and the Capital Regional District (CRD), are investing $4.5 million from the Regional Housing First Program for the project at 2170 Charters Rd.
- The Regional Housing First Program is an equal partnership between the governments of Canada and B.C., and the CRD.
- Announced in 2018, the partnership invest $120 million to construct up to 2,000 units of affordable housing.
- The Province will purchase 13 units that will be rented at the provincial shelter rate of $375 per month.
- M'akola Housing Society will own the remaining 62 units. The society is transferring $4 million of equity it received from the Hope Centre sale toward construction of the project.
- The CRD is providing $330,000 through the Regional Housing Trust Fund to support the development of the remaining affordable rental units within the project.
- The Province is investing $8.5 million through the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund to purchase and renovate the Hope Centre and will provide annual operating funding of approximately $820,000.
Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing