Seventy units of affordable rental housing for families, seniors and people with disabilities are proposed for this site at 250 Fifth Ave. SW, and possibly another 40 units of supportive housing for people who are homeless. (File photo)

Construction of 70 affordable rental units in Salmon Arm set for summer

No decision yet on 40 additional supportive housing units for people who are homeless

Construction of 70 units of affordable rental housing in Salmon Arm is expected to start in July.

Whether the project, to be built at 250 Fifth Ave. SW, will be accompanied by 40 units with on-site supports for people who are homeless hasn’t received final approvals yet.

“If BC Housing proceeds with the opportunity to build supportive housing at this site, construction could start as early as summer 2019, concurrently with the construction for the affordable rental buildings. Opening is estimated for spring 2021,” stated Rajvir Rao, BC Housing spokesperson, in an April 29 email.

The 70 affordable rental units, to be built by BC Housing in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), is intended for families, seniors and people with disabilities.

Rao says when considering locations for supportive housing, BC Housing looks for: “proximity to community services (commercial and recreational activities); accessibility to transit; adequate lot size; connections to utilities; and compatible land use policies…”

To facilitate the addition of supportive housing in the city, council has begun the process of adding ‘assisted living housing’ and ‘dining area’ to the permitted uses in R4, medium density and R5, high density residential zones. The zoning change has received first and second readings and will go to public hearing at the May 13 council meeting.

Read more: Council aims to ease plans for housing homeless in Shuswap

Read more: B.C. Premier says affordable housing crunch hurts growth, families, province

Read more: Affordable housing plan for Sicamous unveiled

Read more: Five years ago, homeless man ‘had everything’

BC Housing has requested that the city cover part or all of the development cost charges (DCCs) for the project, but Mayor Alan Harrison says council has not made a decision on that yet.

Rao writes that all supportive housing that BC Housing develops across the province provides a safe community both inside and outside.

“Supportive housing is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by an experienced non-profit operator. All residents sign an agreement in respect to expectations around behaviours. All residents pay rent. All residents in supportive housing have made a choice to work towards living a healthy, stable life.

He also states that BC Housing and CMHA are committed to be good neighbours.

“CMHA would develop a Community Advisory Committee to support the successful integration of the new building and residents into the community, with representation that may include BC Housing, Interior Health, the City of Salmon Arm, local RCMP, local service providers, local supportive housing residents and a few selected community members at large.”

Rao said he doesn’t have a date yet for the final decision on the 40 units of supportive housing for people who are homeless.

In November last year, the provincial government announced that the Shuswap/Revelstoke region of CMHA would receive $3 million to provide 71 homes for families and seniors. The project was one of 17 projects, providing 673 homes, announced for the B.C. Interior.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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