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More than 25 affordable homes preserved in Vernon

May 21, 2024 at 1:32 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People living in Vernon will continue to have access to 26 affordable rental homes made possible through a recent purchase from the Rental Protection Fund.

“The Rental Protection Fund’s purchase of Sunrise Gardens in Vernon means 26 people will continue to have deeply affordable housing in Vernon,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “The Rental Protection Fund has saved this building from being sold to the private sector or to housing speculators, ensuring that these tenants will benefit from affordable rents for years to come.”

The building, Sunrise Gardens, located at 3806 24th Ave., was at risk of being sold.

Approximately $3.1 million came from the Rental Protection Fund to buy the building. The Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon & District Branch (CMHA Vernon) provided $40,000. CMHA Vernon will own and operate the building. The Rental Protection Fund is also providing a renewal grant of $47,000 to each home to complete upgrades. Through this purchase, the 26 homes will remain approximately 45% below the market rental rate in Vernon. The homes are a mix of studio and one-bedroom units.

“The Rental Protection Fund is also a rental resilience fund,” said Katie Maslechko, CEO, Rental Protection Fund. “Investments like this one in Vernon not only breathe new life into a building and ensure operational sustainability into the future, but for the residents that call it home, freedom from housing insecurity that allows them new opportunities to thrive and build wealth.” 

By supporting renewal and retrofits, the Rental Protection Fund will ensure that the building remains viable and rents will not exceed Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation average rent for the community. CMHA Vernon will lead the repairs to the building, including immediate upgrades to the exterior, landscaping and signage.

“We are excited to partner with the Rental Protection Fund to preserve Sunrise Gardens as much-needed affordable housing in the Vernon community,” said Julia Payson, executive director, CMHA Vernon. “Suitable and affordable housing contributes to our physical and mental well-being.”

The $500-million Rental Protection Fund provides one-time capital grants to non-profit housing organizations so they can buy affordable residential rental buildings and co-operatives listed for sale. 

Quotes:

Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee –

“Vernon is growing as a proud community that looks after one another and with this purchase more people will be able live near their families. This purchase by CMHA Vernon supported by the Rental Protection Fund ensures that rents for these people will remain deeply affordable so they can focus on life in the Okanagan without worry of increased finances. Our government is committed to find and support several aspects to address housing needs, this is another initiative we are happy to support, so more people in our community can benefit.”

Jill Atkey, CEO of BC Non-Profit Housing Association –

“Securing the affordability of these 26 homes couldn’t happen at a more critical time as more and more renters are priced out of the rental market. The fund is not only securing affordability for current residents, but for the hundreds and hundreds of residents who come after them because affordability in the non-profit sector means affordability forever.”

Victor Cumming, mayor of Vernon –

“We know that in order to address the housing shortage in Vernon, we need to create a wide range of affordable housing options. Investing in this type of housing and partnering with non-profit organizations like CMHA Vernon provides safe and accessible homes close to vital services. Make no mistake, this is a significant investment in preserving affordable housing options in Vernon.”

Chief Byron Louis, Okanagan Indian Band – 

“With affordable housing being such a rarity today, it is absolutely essential that local governments continue to work in tandem with non-profits to ensure that affordable housing options are retained and expanded. We’re happy to hear that the provincial government and CMHA are working towards that goal.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Rental Protection Fund has approved funding to preserve more than 1,200 homes throughout the Province that will be announced in the coming months, with thousands of additional homes under funding consideration.
  • The Rental Protection Fund has qualified 25 non-profit organizations and advanced 36 proposals for consideration.

Learn More:

For information about the Rental Protection Fund, visit: https://rentalprotectionfund.ca

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

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