Four affordable housing projects announced Thursday have the potential of creating 494 new houses in Langford and Sooke by 2021.
In Sooke, the Capital Regional District, working with the B.C. government, has called for the acquisition and development of two adjacent properties located at Drennan Street and Sooke Road, as well as another property at Throup Road.
The Drennan Road development is slated to contribute 169 units (34 units at shelter rate, 52 affordable units and 83 near-market units) to the housing inventory and, on Throup Road, an additional 75 units (15 units at shelter rate, 24 affordable units and 36 near-market units) are planned.
“This project has actually been in the works since 2016. We first looked at land that was owned by the municipality, but that didn’t work out,” Mayor Maja Tait said.
“But the land that has been selected is really exciting. They are within walking distance of the core … they’re on the transit route. It’s really exciting to see those lands developed for this purpose.”
Tait added that the announcement is a great way to kick off a new year.
“These things always take time and we really needed this housing yesterday, but now at least there’s a light on the horizon.”
The initiatives are a part of the Regional Housing First Program partnership that was first initiated by equal $30 million investments from the CRD, B.C. Housing and the federal government through CMHC, under the National Housing Strategy’s Affordable Housing Innovation Fund.
The program uses a mixed-market approach and will invest up to $90 million toward projects that meet a variety of housing needs. The goal is to create mixed-income communities with supported housing units within individual projects. The mix of rent levels will be 20 per cent shelter units at the provincial income assistance rate of $375, 31 per cent affordable units and 49 per cent near-market units.
The shelter-rate units provide the down payment to initiate the project, then the revenue from all the affordable units and near-market units in the building will cover the operating and maintenance costs of each project.
“The Affordable Housing Innovation Fund is designed to stimulate growth in the affordable housing sector by encouraging the development of new funding models and building techniques,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
“We’re working hard with our provincial and municipal partners, and these land acquisitions and new projects build on our commitment to help make homelessness history in Victoria and the Capital Region.”
With the approval of the proposed projects in Sooke, B.C. Housing has moved forward with buying the land and in determining the conceptual design, engineering and land use anticipated a part of the developments.