The province has reaffirmed its commitment to fund the next phase of the Lions Housing Society’s Greenecourt project.
The $10.4 million from BC Housing was first announced last year as part of a package of funding for 4,800 new units in 41 different communities across B.C.
A formal announcement was held March 13 at the Lions Hall on the Greenecourt site in downtown Sechelt.
“Most of us know that the housing crisis facing people in B.C. didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight either,” said Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons. “But our government is making important choices and prioritizing important aspects of our policies that, I think, put people at the front.”
“I would like to say how extremely pleased we are with this funding announcement,” said Robert Allen, president of the Sunshine Coast Lions Housing Society, who also thanked the Society’s building committee and chair Debbie Ferguson for their work guiding the project along.
The new, 104-unit Arbutus building will replace the hall and the remaining cottages at the Ocean Avenue property – and with the existing 65-unit Jack Nelson, Orca and Sandpiper buildings, it will bring the total units at Greenecourt to 215 units.
Allen said all 29 people who had been living in the cottages have now been able to find a place elsewhere in the Greenecourt complex.
“I’m pleased to say the last remaining tenant of the cottages was offered a suite for March 1 of this year,” he said, adding that the Housing Society also had a backup plan to offer accommodation in hotels, but that won’t be needed now.
He said the Housing Society is still working with the Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living and Vancouver Coastal Health to include subsidized units for people with developmental disabilities or mental health and addictions issues.
Allen said a housing agreement with the District of Sechelt will go to council later this month and final approvals are expected in time to start construction this summer.
Under the agreement with BC Housing, and the housing agreement with the District of Sechelt, 30 per cent of the units will be geared toward people with “moderate income,” 50 per cent will be rent geared to income, and 30 per cent will be what Allen called “deep subsidy” units for people with low incomes.
There are already more than 250 people on the waiting list for a unit.