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Posted: November 10, 2016

Another affordable housing option in Cranbrook

Adults with low-to moderate-incomes will soon be able to apply for new affordable rental housing at Sonja’s Garden in Cranbrook, which celebrated the addition of 18 units last night.

While construction is scheduled to continue until the end of the year, the new units are expected to be move-in ready by early December. With the additional units, Sonja’s Garden will have a total of 53 rental apartments for people in need of safe, affordable housing in the community.

Other additions to the building include a new training centre for adult wellness, a youth and volunteer centre and an expanded office space for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kootenays.

Connor Stewart.
Connor Stewart.

The opening ceremony also celebrated the life of Connor Stewart, a former CMHA Kootenays board member who passed away last year. Stewart was deeply committed to creating training opportunities for adult learners in pursuit of mental health and wellness. His passion to support adult learning will be remembered through a building dedication – the Connor Stewart Training Centre.

“I’m pleased to be part of the celebration today to announce the expansion of Sonja’s Gardens. Through the efforts of the Canadian Mental Health Association for the Kootenays, we now have 18 more units of affordable housing options for adults and seniors living in Cranbrook,” said City of Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt.

“The Canadian Mental Health Association is a valued community partner that is making a positive difference in the City of Cranbrook. We will continue to work with them and others to improve affordable housing options for our most vulnerable residents,” added Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.

“We’re so proud to help meet the growing demand for more affordable housing for older single adults living in Cranbrook. The association has contributed $ 1.7 million towards the capital costs of this new construction, which gives our board of directors and staff a great sense of accomplishment and pride in being able to source significant funding to accomplish this project,” said Kevin Weaver, Canadian Mental Health Association Kootenays board president.

Earlier this fall, three properties, including Sonja’s Garden, were transferred from the province to the CMHA Kootenays under the Non-Profit Asset Transfer (NPAT) program initiated in 2014.

The transfer of properties to non-profit societies was undertaken at the request of the societies, and is part of the B.C. government’s commitment to strengthen the non-profit housing sector. Through the program, government is providing subsidies to non-profit housing societies to allow them to buy the land they currently lease from the province.

The B.C. government provided construction financing of $3.9 million. CMHA Kootenays provided equity of $1.7 million.

Last year, the province provided $4.2 million to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 535 households in Cranbrook.

The CMHA Kootenays oversees close to 150 units of affordable housing as well as manages a range of services in crisis intervention and prevention.


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