The Government of British Columbia is partnering with the City of Prince George and Northern Health on an innovative project that would bring together new affordable housing and health-care services to support people in Prince George.
The proposed mixed-use development would be located on First Avenue at the current location of NR Motors.
BC Housing would lead the construction of the project, to be built in two phases. The first phase would include approximately 50 supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness and the second phase would include 50 affordable rental homes for low- to moderate-income individuals and families. Experienced non-profit housing providers would be selected to oversee the day-to-day management of both buildings.
Each building would include ground-floor health-care space that would deliver services for both residents and the public. Northern Health, in partnership with other health-service agencies, would oversee these spaces and provide primary care, harm reduction and specialized mental health and substance-use services. The proposed project addresses recommendations in Northern Health’s 2017 downtown health-services plan.
The city has an agreement with NR Motors to purchase the property, subject to rezoning, an amendment to the official community plan, environmental and geotechnical review, and project approval. According to NR Motors, the company has outgrown its current site and is planning to move to a different location.
The proposed project is in an early phase of planning. A municipal rezoning process is planned for fall 2019, offering opportunities for stakeholders and the community to provide input.
Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing —
“This project is a great example of how we’re working with partners to make life better for people in Prince George. People should be able to find affordable housing that works for them, close to the health-care services they count on, and that’s what this project will deliver.”
Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions —
“When people have stable housing and access to supports when and where they need them, it benefits the entire community. This project will offer people in Prince George wraparound services in a safe and secure environment, so they can focus on a pathway to healing and to hope.”
Lyn Hall, mayor, City of Prince George —
“I would like to express my appreciation to Northern Health and BC Housing for partnering with the city to explore real options for improving our downtown for everyone. Just the fact these three organizations are working together is quite innovative and encouraging, and positions Prince George for meaningful change. The partners will now work together to provide the community with more information about the proposal together with opportunities for public input, leading up to a rezoning process later this fall.”
Colleen Nyce, board chair, Northern Health —
“With the City of Prince George, BC Housing and our many health-service partners, we are taking a bold step in addressing some of the challenges that we are facing in the downtown. This project will meet the housing and health-care needs of vulnerable people, where and when they need it.”
- The project is the first to be proposed in Prince George to provide this range of housing and services, all under one roof.
- For the affordable rental homes, rents will be geared to income, which means people will pay approximately 30% of their gross household income.
- In addition to these homes, the Province is working in partnership to build 105 new affordable homes in Prince George:
- Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund: 50 affordable rental homes for Indigenous peoples; and
- Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund: 55 affordable rental homes for women and their children fleeing violence.
- To address the issue of housing affordability for British Columbians, the Province is curbing speculation in B.C.’s housing market and helping build 114,000 affordable new homes through partnerships by 2028.
A website has been established with information about the project: letstalkhousingbc.ca/PrinceGeorge
A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is now available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
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
A backgrounder follows.