March 21, 2019
COURTENAY – People with low to moderate incomes and those at risk of homelessness in the Comox Valley, including Indigenous peoples, now have more affordable housing options and better opportunities that come with stable housing.
The Province has partnered with M’akola Housing Society to build 35 new affordable rental homes in Courtenay.
“Indigenous peoples are heavily over-represented among British Columbians who are experiencing homelessness, so these homes are good news with the potential to change lives of people in the Comox Valley,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “This project is a great example of how working with Indigenous organizations and municipalities, we can build the affordable homes that Indigenous families and people throughout B.C. need.”
Located at 810 Braidwood Rd., the new development is a three-storey, wood-framed building with a mix of studios and one-bedroom units, a common room and office space. All the units have a four-piece bathroom and kitchen.
The M’akola Housing Society is the non-profit operator and is providing supports for residents including outreach and counselling. Six of the units will be rented at the provincial shelter rate of $375 per month through referrals from Wachiay Friendship Centre for clients registered in its Housing Partnership Program. Wachiay Friendship Centre will provide those residents with accompanying supports, such as outreach and counselling and a live-in caretaker.
Rents for the other units will range from about $580 to $760 per month, and people began moving into their homes in March 2019.
Delivering affordable housing is a shared commitment between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Kevin Albers, CEO, M’akola Housing Society and M’akola Development Services —
“We are honoured to be working in partnership with BC Housing, the Wachiay Friendship Centre and the City of Courtenay on this much-needed and community-supported affordable housing project, which will be located on the territory of the K’omoks First Nation. Affordable housing is a priority to this community, and this project, along with the strong support received, is to be celebrated.”
Bob Wells, Mayor of Courtenay —
“We welcome the grand opening of this important facility and are grateful for the safety and security it will provide to members of our community who are at risk of homelessness or housing insecurity. Countless organizations and individuals have worked tirelessly for many years to make this project a reality, and it’s truly exciting to finally be celebrating its completion.”
Michael Colclough, executive director, Wachiay Friendship Centre —
“The Braidwood project is a result of many years of work with community partners and is an important part of finding housing solutions for the Comox Valley. Addressing issues of homelessness and affordable housing is a focus of the Wachiay Friendship Centre, and we are very pleased to have been involved in this M’akola Housing Society project.”
Margaret Pfoh, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) —
“Any one organization, working alone, can have only a limited impact given the scale of the housing crisis. By working together, AHMA’s members and our partners can be a powerful force for change and Braidwood is a testament to this change. We acknowledge the tremendous work and commitment to Indigenous housing from our members — Wachiay Friendship Centre and M’akola Housing Society. I am honoured to welcome Braidwood and each of its residents to the AHMA community.”
- The Province provided $4.6 million in capital funding for this project.
- The City of Courtenay provided municipal waivers in the amount of $428,000 and provided the land valued at approximately $385,000. This land was originally purchased through the sale of other property transferred from the Comox Valley Regional District and funded by City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, Village of Cumberland and rural areas.
- The Comox Valley Regional District provided $110,000 through its Homelessness Supports Service.
- M’akola Development Services, a development consultancy group that specializes in affordable housing and co-ordinating between non-profits and BC Housing, also contributed $500,000 toward the project.
- The Wachiay Friendship Centre is working with Comox Bay Care Society, LUSH Valley, AIDS Vancouver Island and Comox Valley Mental Health and Substance Use to provide services to tenants.
- The Province is investing $550 million over the next 10 years to build more than 1,700 new homes for Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.
- Through the Rapid Response to Homelessness program and the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund, the Province is building 4,500 homes with 24/7 support services over 10 years in communities around the province for people experiencing homelessness, with more than 2,560 built or underway.
- The Rapid Response to Homelessness program is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs throughout the province, which includes 1,400 direct jobs and another 650 jobs in supplier industries.
Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing