Funding provides impetus to start building

The Hope Centre in Sooke has received funding from all levels of government

The Hope Centre, an affordable housing project in Sooke, just received an injection of funds from the Regional Housing Trust Fund Commission. At the August 14 meeting of the Capital Regional District Board, a recommendation was passed to grant the M’Akola Housing Society $375,000 to create 25 new supportive rental housing units. The grant is subject to meeting the terms of the RHTF Grant Funding Agreement by September 1, 2013.

“This is a good news story,” said Councillor Rick Kasper, CRD board alternate. “It’s the first time we’ve received money.”

The District of Sooke is providing a grant of $69,219, by waiving commercial building permit and development fees. The funds will be paid out of the Council Contingency fund in a lump sum but budgeted over the next five years.

“It’s the maximum we can do,” said Kasper.

Work has already begun on the project along West Coast Road at the site of the old St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.

The Hope Centre is a combination of the housing societies of M’Akola and St. Vincent De Paul. They combined resources and responded to a CRD Housing Secretariat/Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness call for proposals.

The Hope Centre would be a mixed-use resource and hosting facility with four floors. The bottom floor will house the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store with the second floor dedicated to education facilities and offices. The upper floors would be rental suites and will provide much-needed supportive housing for Aboriginal youth and general youth at risk.

The project’s total cost is $5.9 million with $1.8 million coming from the Federal Homelessness Partnering Strategy.