By Rich Coleman
Minister Responsible for Housing
VICTORIA - 2013 has been an extraordinary year marked by significant achievements under the Provincial Housing Strategy.
Launched in 2006, Housing Matters BC remains the most progressive housing strategy in Canada. With a focus on those in greatest need, our government has invested more than $2.5 billion into housing programs since 2006 and transformed affordable housing in British Columbia. This investment has helped create more than 21,000 new units of affordable housing, renovate and upgrade existing housing stock and expand our services to reach more people in need, increasing the number of households we serve by 20 per cent.
This year alone, the B.C. government invested more than $400 million to provide a diverse range of social housing programs that assist families, seniors, people with disabilities and those who are homeless. Some highlights from 2013 include:
- Finalizing the contract on a $143-million project to renovate and restore 13 provincially owned Single Room Occupancy Hotels in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
- Providing rental assistance for close to 27,000 low-income seniors and working families to help them keep the cost of private market rentals more affordable.
- Officially opening 20 new buildings, adding close to 1,000 new units of affordable housing and beginning construction on another 14 buildings in communities throughout B.C.
- Transferring all remaining Aboriginal Housing to Aboriginal housing providers, 4,200 units in total. This Aboriginal self-management model for social housing is the first of its kind in Canada.
- Breaking ground on the first building under a partnership between the Province, Government of Canada and Columbia Basin Trust to support affordable housing projects for Columbia Basin residents in need. The Salmo project will provide 20 apartments for seniors and eight townhomes for families.
Under Housing Matters BC, we have produced impressive results. The year ahead holds more promise as we continue to work with our partners to develop new affordable homes for low-income households.