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More affordable housing for families, seniors open in Victoria

September 29, 2023 at 10:46 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

More affordable rental housing for families, seniors and people living with disabilities is now available in Victoria, with the opening of The Oaks.

“This new apartment building means dozens of families and seniors in Victoria will be able to stay in their community, comfortably and affordably,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “British Columbians can expect to see more homes like these open soon as we work to build housing that gives people the peace of mind that comes with safe, secure and affordable housing.”

Located at 9 Chown Place, the new four-storey wood-frame building has 58 one-, two- and three-bedroom units for people with low to moderate incomes. The building includes one fully accessible unit and 48 adaptable units, as well as a community hall, raised garden beds and a rooftop deck.

“I’m pleased to see the successful completion of The Oaks at 9 Chown Place, with partial funding from the Victoria Housing Reserve,” said Marianne Alto, mayor of Victoria. “The city is committed to creating more affordable housing and this project is a great example of how, working with the Province and Gorge View Society, we can increase housing options for some of our most vulnerable residents.”

Most residents of The Oaks pay rent geared to income, meaning rent is based on 30% of their household income. Twelve units are specifically reserved for people with very low incomes, such as those receiving income or disability assistance. The remaining 17 units are being rented to households with moderate incomes at near-market rates, with rent ranging from $1,600 to $2,100 per month.

“Seniors, parents and their children should not have to leave the community they call home to find safe, affordable housing,” said Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake. “That’s why I’m so pleased to see doors open on The Oaks, which will have a major impact on residents’ lives. I’m grateful to Gorge View Society and our community partners for their leadership in bringing this project to fruition.”

The project is located on a two-hectare (five acres) property owned by the Gorge View Society. Additional housing is expected to be added to the site, further increasing affordable housing options in the coming years. Gorge View Society (GVS) will operate the building.

“As a non-profit landlord, we are on the front lines of the housing crisis and hear from seniors and families daily who are desperate to find a home,” said Jan Kernaghan, board chair, Gorge View Society. “As a non-profit developer, we couldn’t have made this significant investment in homes without BC Housing. The Oaks is a beautiful building that reflects a sound partnership with government and years of hard work on the part of dedicated GVS board members.”

This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has nearly 77,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway, including more than 3,000 in Victoria.

“Before coming to The Oaks, I was paying 60% of my income on rent,” said Joanne, a tenant at The Oaks. “And that was staying with friends. Affording market rent was out of the question. Now, I pay 30% of my income on rent, which is a game changer for me. It feels like I’ve won the lottery.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province, through BC Housing, provided approximately $6.2 million for the project through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund and is providing annual operating funding.
  • The Gorge View Society provided the land, valued at $2.2 million, and an equity contribution of $330,000.
  • The City of Victoria provided $295,000 through the Victoria Housing Reserve Fund.

Learn More:

To learn about government’s new Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

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

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