COLUMBIA BASIN – As a result of federal and provincial investments, a new program, the Affordable Rental Housing initiative (ARHi), will soon be available in the Columbia Basin region for households in need. Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has also partnered with the Province in this initiative to deliver essential affordable rental housing.
Through the Canada-British Columbia Agreement for Investment in Affordable Housing 2011-2014, the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia are providing a combined investment of $5 million over three years to support new affordable rental housing projects in communities across the Columbia Basin. Through a separate funding agreement with the Province, CBT is contributing a further $5 million to this initiative.
“Our government is committed to developing and implementing local solutions to local housing challenges,” said the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and Minister Responsible for British Columbia on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). “Through this new program, seniors and families of Columbia Basin will have access to affordable rental housing that meets their needs.”
“This is a wonderful announcement for our region,” said Bill Bennett, MLA for Kootenay East. “Columbia Basin Trust is such an important player in all of our communities and it is gratifying to see the Province working so well and so collaboratively with CBT on such an important issue.”
Details on how to apply for the Affordable Rental Housing initiative and request for proposals for the procurement of potential affordable rental housing projects will be available in Spring 2012.
“Our partnership with the provincial government represents a unique opportunity for CBT to help address a priority issue for a number of Basin communities,” said Garry Merkel, CBT board chair. “We’re excited this partnership can help communities make affordable rental housing projects a reality.”
The Canada-British Columbia Agreement for Investment in Affordable Housing 2011-2014, signed in July 2011, confirms the remaining three years of B.C.’s five-year allocation of the Government of Canada’s 2008 commitment of more than $1.9 billion to improve and build new affordable housing and help the homeless. This means a further $90 million in federal funding for British Columbians in housing need. With matching provincial contributions of $90 million, a total combined investment of $180 million helps to support affordable housing programs for B.C. residents.
The Government of Canada, through CMHC, will invest more than $2 billion in housing this year. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of almost 615,000 households living in existing social housing. In British Columbia, this represents some 71,000 households. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people.