BC Housing says it remains open to finding modular housing in Saanich. It had rejected an earlier offer of land from the municipality near Municipal Hall, saying it was unsuitable. (Black Press File).

BC Housing remains open to modular housing in Saanich, but acknowledges slow regional up take

Only one project with 21 units underway in the Greater Victoria

The provincial government remains open to bringing modular housing to Saanich, while noting that regional uptake for modular housing has been limited.

Speaking on background, an official with BC Housing said Saanich remains committed to identifying suitable land, and BC Housing will continue to work with the municipality to move forward on this much-needed supportive modular housing for the community.

The official said BC Housing could not share details about in-camera negotiations about potential partners or properties.

Saanich has not had formal talks with BC Housing since early October 2018, when the province rejected a land offer from Saanich for modular housing, saying that the property near municipal hall was not suitable.

RELATED: Province says Saanich-owned land unsuitable for supportive housing

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Both sides previously discussed bringing modular housing to the community as a response to the homeless camp that occupied Saanich’s Regina Park for several months under a program that the provincial government had announced in 2017, committing $291 million towards housing 2,000 people. The province has since announced additional funding for 200 more units at an additional cost of $76 million in its last budget.

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The BC Housing official speaking on background said the government has not yet selected specific communities for these units, but continues to work with a number of local governments across the province that are interested in accessing funding to help people experiencing homelessness in their communities.

Uptake in the Greater Victoria area however, has been slow so far. Only one site for 21 units has been identified in the City of Victoria under the modular housing program, the official said, adding that the government has funding available, and remains willing to work with local government, who want to build supportive and permanent homes.

Millstream Ridge earlier this month became the first project to open under the $30 million Regional Housing First Program, a partnership between local municipalities, as well as the federal and provincial governments to create 2,000 new affordable rental housing homes for people in southern Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands.

Seven projects with 760 units units are underway through this partnership.


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