The Province is partnering with a developer in Squamish to build 40 new rental apartments to help address the need for more rental housing for middle-income families in the community.
The new homes are part of the Province’s HousingHub initiative to proactively bring together and partner with all levels of government, landowners and a range of for- and not-for-profit groups to increase people’s rental and homeownership options.
“Years of inaction on housing supply and escalating costs have left too many people, even those with middle incomes, unable to find an affordable place to live,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Through the HousingHub, we are building new partnerships throughout the province to create the right types of homes that people need to stay in their community and build a future.”
The HousingHub is working with WestUrban Developments Ltd. to build 40 market rental homes at Northyard, located at 39666 Government Rd. The four-storey building will provide new homes designed for households with annual incomes ranging between $54,000 and $92,000. Construction is underway, with the new homes expected to be complete in spring 2020.
“We are very excited to partner with BC Housing through the HousingHub to help address the rental demand needs in Squamish,” said Sean Roy, CEO, WestUrban Developments Ltd. “This mixed-use development provides a fantastic opportunity for residents to enjoy high-quality residential amenities, combined with the ease of access to retail and office spaces within the same building. We are thrilled to break ground with BC Housing on our first project together and will be partnering on future developments to increase the rental housing supply across British Columbia.”
The project will add much-needed rental supply to a community facing extremely low-vacancy rates. Guided by the standard that affordable housing means people spend no more than 30% of their income, these rents are designed to be affordable for people in this middle-income range.
“We are very excited about this project that provides affordable rental housing options for middle-income families,” said Karen Elliott, mayor, District of Squamish. “Affordability has varying levels of interpretation, and what may be considered affordable for one resident may be unattainable for another. The District of Squamish remains committed to increasing the number of affordable housing options for residents across the income spectrum, which will be possible through progressive policy and developing creative solutions in collaboration with our community partners, developers and the Province. We commend HousingHub and WestUrban Developments Ltd. for making this project possible in Squamish.”
The HousingHub is a division within BC Housing established in 2018 as part of B.C.’s 10-year housing plan to seek innovative partnerships with local governments, non-profit and co-operative housing organizations, community land trusts, Indigenous groups, faith-based groups, charities, financial institutions and other industries to create affordable rental housing and homeownership options for middle-income British Columbians.
The HousingHub acts as a centre for housing expertise and collaboration, helping create housing either through new construction or through the redevelopment of existing sites.
The first HousingHub projects, announced in April 2018, involved a partnership with the B.C. Conference of the United Church of Canada. Work on additional HousingHub projects around the province is underway and further projects will be announced in the coming months.
- The Province, through the HousingHub, is providing interim construction financing of approximately $14 million for the project in Squamish.
- The approximate rents for the project will be:
- studio: $1,350/month
- one bedroom: $1,800/month
- two bedroom: $2,300/month
- Through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, the Province is also investing approximately $7.6 million to build 76 affordable rental homes for individuals and families in Squamish.
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges
Read Homes for B.C., government’s 10-year housing plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf
A backgrounder follows.