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New homes open for seniors, people with disabilities in Port Alberni

January 4, 2024 at 8:43 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Seniors and people living with disabilities in Port Alberni now have access to more affordable rental housing with the opening of Huupsitas, a new 48-unit apartment building.

“The Huupsitas building will provide the kind of stability and security that seniors and people living with disabilities need more of, so they can retire in the community they know and love,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “Our government is building housing at a historic rate, and these 48 new homes are another example of how we’re building a province where everyone has a good place to call home and no one gets left behind.”

Located at 6161 Russell Pl., the five-storey building has 45 one-bedroom units and three two-bedroom apartments. The WestCoast Native Health Care Society contributed the land for the building, which forms part of the five-acre Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens Campus of Care. The site is home to a 44-unit complex care facility and a 20-unit independent living apartment building.

“Accessible housing like this is part of our commitment to ensure people can continue to live affordably, and close to family, community and culture,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific. “Our government shares the community’s excitement in seeing these homes opened, and we will continue to work with our partners to support housing needs for seniors and people living with disabilities.”

Huupsitas provides independent seniors with the ability to age in place. Half the units have their rent geared to income where rent is 30% of the tenant’s income. Nine units will be rented to households with very low incomes, such as those receiving income or disability assistance or a basic senior’s pension. The remaining units will be rented at the low end of market rents, between $750 for a one-bedroom and $850 for a two-bedroom. Ten of the units are fully wheelchair accessible, while the remaining units can be easily adapted if a tenant’s accessibility needs change in the future. The building is open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents.

This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has more than 77,000 homes delivered or underway, including nearly 480 homes in Port Alberni.

Quotes:

Margaret Pfoh, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Management Association

“Enabling this housing is a much-needed act of reconciliACTION. This development provides equitable access to safe, affordable, culturally supported living for Indigenous elders. A place to call home is essential for the well-being of all Indigenous youth, families, elders and peoples.”

Derek Appleton, chair, WestCoast Native Health Care Society –

“We are very pleased with the support from the provincial government to add to our campus of care. Residents in the existing affordable living apartments have had a life-changing experience moving into the new building where a community of tenants has formed. A home and a wholesome connection to other human beings is conducive to well-being for everyone.”

Sharie Minions, mayor, City of Port Alberni –

“The opening of Huupsitas will ensure our seniors have access to affordable, stable housing and are able to age in place in a community they love. My gratitude goes out to the WestCoast Native Health Care Society who continue to do great work advocating for independent seniors and Indigenous elders in our community.”

Quick Facts:

  • Huupsitas translates to “side of a hill” in Nuu-chah-nulth.
  • The Province, through BC Housing, provided approximately $5 million to the project through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund and will provide about $300,000 in annual operating funding.
  • The Community Housing Fund is a 10-year, $3.3-billion investment to build more than 20,000 affordable rental homes for people with low or moderate incomes.

Learn More:

To learn more 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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