Apartments converted into affordable housing in Invermere
An 18-unit apartment complex in Invermere was purchased and converted into affordable housing for low-income families through funding provided by the governments of Canada and British Columbia with contributions from Columbia Basin Trust.
“Our government’s investment in affordable housing here in Invermere is helping to improve the quality of life of families in need, and is contributing to the social well-being of the entire community,” said David Wilks, Member of Parliament for Kootenay – Columbia on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development.
“The province works closely with community partners to create new affordable housing options in communities across B.C.,” said the Honourable Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and MLA for Kootenay East. “This project will help more families in the region secure, safe, affordable housing. It is a fine example of what can be accomplished when all levels of government and the community work together to meet local needs.”
The governments of Canada and B.C. will provide a combined investment of $744,558 through the Affordable Rental Housing initiative, under the Investment in Affordable Housing 2011-2014 Agreement. Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) is contributing $744,558. In addition, the Government of B.C. will provide interim construction financing of up to $150,000. The District of Invermere provided $30,000 and the Family Resource Centre of Invermere will provide equity of $54,000.
The previous owner of the apartment complex provided $100,000 as a charitable donation.
“It is great to see an existing building converted to meet community needs,” said Neil Muth, CBT’s president and chief executive officer. “All partners and community members connected with this project worked hard and worked co-operatively. The trust is pleased to support increased access to affordable housing for the residents of Invermere.”
Located at 218-10th Avenue in Invermere, the new affordable housing complex consists of 18 two-bedroom apartments for low-income families.
Minor renovations and upgrades to the building, including replacement of windows and exterior lighting around the complex, are scheduled to take place in summer 2014. The apartment complex, which consists of three apartment buildings, is owned and operated by Family Resource Centre of Invermere.
Tenants living at the apartment complex who qualify for affordable housing will have their rents reduced. The remaining apartments will be rented to tenants eligible for affordable housing as the units become available.
“Providing more affordable rental housing for families is a growing goal for our organization as it’s a key element in fostering mental, social, physical and financial wellness in our communities,” said Pat Cope, executive director, Family Resource Centre of Invermere. “This project has been in the works for over two years and we are thrilled that the federal and provincial governments and Columbia Basin Trust were able to help us acquire this property.”
The Affordable Housing Rental initiative is a component of the $180-million Investment in Affordable Housing 2011-2014 Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia which was announced in July 2011. With a combined contribution of $5 million from both levels of government over three years, this investment helps to support new affordable rental housing projects in communities across the Columbia Basin. Through a separate funding agreement with the province, Columbia Basin Trust is contributing a further $5 million to this initiative.
Annually, the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), will invest approximately $2 billion in housing. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of close to 600,000 households living in existing social housing. In British Columbia, this represents an estimated 68,050 households. The remaining funding supports housing-related activities and affordable housing programs, including the Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH).
These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people. Economic Action Plan 2013 continues this commitment with a federal investment of more than $1.25 billion over five years to renew the Investment in Affordable Housing to 2019.
The Government of Canada will ensure that funds provided to provinces and territories support the use of apprentices, which will support training of skilled labour. A total of 147,714 households across Canada are no longer in housing need as a result of funding provided under the IAH from April 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2013.
To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1 800 668-2642 or visit: www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca.
Since 2001, the Government of B.C. has invested $3.6 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 98,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services. To find out more, visit: www.bchousing.org.
One of CBT’s strategic priorities is to assist Columbia Basin communities in effectively dealing with affordable housing issues and to support new housing initiatives.
CBT has helped communities plan affordable housing projects, provided capital grants to projects and shared information on affordable housing issues. CBT delivers economic, social and environmental benefits to the residents of the Columbia Basin. To learn more about CBT programs and initiatives, call 1-800-505-8998 or visit: www.cbt.org.
The Family Resource Centre is a registered not-for-profit society based in Invermere serving the population of the Upper Columbia Valley from Spillimacheen in the north, to Canal Flats in the south, and including Brisco, Edgewater, Panorama, Radium Hot Springs, Wilmer, Windermere, Fairmont Hot Springs, and Dutch Creek. To find out more, visit: www.familyresourcecentre.ca.