Nearly 100 new housing units break ground in Victoria

May 30, 2022 at 10:51 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Construction is underway on a new housing project that will replace three aging apartment buildings with 97 affordable rental homes for families, seniors and people with low to moderate incomes.

“With construction starting on Michigan Square, more families, seniors and individuals in Victoria will have access to quality homes with affordable monthly rents that will help them stay in our community,” said Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill. “We’ll continue to work with our federal and community partners to build more affordable homes like these in Victoria and throughout British Columbia.”

The project is receiving $4.5 million through the Regional Housing First Program, an innovative partnership between the Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC), the B.C. government and the Government of Canada.

The Province, through BC Housing, is providing approximately $11.7 million in low-cost financing through the HousingHub and another $4.6 million through Building BC: Community Housing Fund. The Province is also providing approximately $187,000 in annual operating funding.

The Capital Regional District is contributing $1.1 million through the Regional Housing Trust Fund and the City of Victoria is providing $620,000.

The CRHC will own and operate the new buildings. The CRHC is the largest social-housing provider in the Capital Region and provides homes to more than 3,500 tenants with 1,893 units in 50 buildings.

Located at 330-336 Michigan St., Michigan Square is replacing 53 units in three aging apartment buildings that were rendered uninhabitable by water damage. The buildings have been demolished and their residents have been relocated to other affordable housing in the community.

The redevelopment will see the demolished units replaced with two new four-storey apartment buildings. The buildings will have studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom homes:

  • 24 units for people with very low incomes that will be rented at the provincial shelter rate;
  • 22 units with rent geared to income, for which people with low to moderate incomes will pay 30% of their incomes; and
  • 51 units for people with moderate incomes that will be rented at market rates.

The development will include a private courtyard with a playground and community garden, as well as an indoor gathering space and bike storage. When construction is complete, residents who lived in the now-demolished buildings will have the option to move into the new units. The heritage house and nine townhouses on the site will not be redeveloped, and their tenants and the rent they pay will not change.

Construction is expected to be complete in fall 2023, with residents moving in soon after.

This project is part of B.C.’s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. Since 2017, the Province has funded nearly 34,000 new affordable homes that are complete or underway, including more than 2,400 homes in Greater Victoria.

Quotes:

Ahmed Hussen, federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion –

“Every Canadian deserves a safe place to call home. The redevelopment of Michigan Square will provide new homes to nearly 100 families, individuals and seniors in Victoria and is truly a community achievement that will be celebrated for generations to come. This is the National Housing Strategy at work.”

Lisa Helps, mayor of Victoria –

“Housing affordability in our community is a top priority for Victoria city council. Projects such as the Michigan Street development not only provide accessible housing and create vibrant neighbourhoods, they also highlight the remarkable impact that is possible when agencies work collaboratively on a common goal.”

Jeremy Loveday, chair, Capital Regional Housing Corporation –

“The Capital Regional Housing Corporation builds safe, vibrant and accessible communities where tenants can feel a sense of pride and belonging, and that commitment continues in our redevelopment of Michigan Square. The remarkable part of this project is the way our partners have come together to realize the goal of increasing the supply of affordable and appropriate housing for low-, moderate- and middle-income households.”

Quick Facts:

  • Canada’s National Housing Strategy is a 10-year, $72-billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home.
  • The Regional Housing First Program is an equal-partnership agreement between the Capital Regional District, the Province, through BC Housing, and the federal government, through CMHC.
  • The program will result in a direct investment of $120 million to create as many as 2,000 affordable housing units, including 400 units for people experiencing homelessness on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

Learn More:

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online at: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

For information about CMHC, visit: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en

To find out about the National Housing Strategy, visit www.placetocallhome.ca

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