Habitat for Humanity Southeast B.C. hopes to build a multi-family development in Castlegar in 2020.
The group appeared before city council on Monday to explain their proposal and ask the city to partner with them.
Habitat for Humanity is asking the city to provide land and some gifts-in-kind such as city services, permits and fees.
Their goal is to build either several duplexes or fourplexes, or a townhouse-style development, with four units built in 2020.
Ideally they would like to secure the property, zoning, etc. over this winter and break ground in the spring.
Habitat for Humanity executive director Bob Huff said the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Castlegar has been “hugely successful” and the group is hoping to pay the community back by choosing Castlegar as a building location.
Habitat for Humanity strives to provide low and moderate income families the same opportunity to look forward to building equity in life as higher income families.
“My intention is that we provide children with a safe environment, a place where they feel part of the community,” said Huff. “A place where they can have the same aspirations, not be moving from school to school or community to community.
“Not just to provide mom and dad with equity in life, but to provide that stable home life for families.”
Habitat for Humanity’s Southeast B.C. branch is developing a five-year strategic plan and hopes to build every year for the next five years.
Habitat for Humanity’s model is to work as the developer, builder, mortgage company and a social services agency all at once.
They typically work behind the scenes for about six months recruiting families, signing sponsorship deals, accumulating building materials and fundraising, as well as working on the land title transfer, zoning, building permits, etc.
Habitat for Humanity then sells the homes to pre-selected low-income families and provides them an interest free mortgage with no down payment.
Canada Revenue Agency dictates that Habitat for Humanity must sell homes at fair market value, so single-family dwellings are simply not feasible anymore for low income families at current real estate prices. That is the reasoning behind the organization’s new model of building multi-family residences.
Habitat for Humanity does however have the authority to offer interest free, no down payment mortgages with low monthly payments. Mortgage payments combined with taxes and utilities are set to be no more than 30 per cent of a family’s income.
Habitat for Humanity is hoping to hear from the city within 60 days, but will work with whatever the city can offer.
Mayor and council did not discuss the proposal at the meeting.