An architect’s rendering of the proposed Habitat for Humanity-Kamloops seniors project planned for 1351 10th Ave. NE in Salmon Arm. (Contributed)

An architect’s rendering of the proposed Habitat for Humanity-Kamloops seniors project planned for 1351 10th Ave. NE in Salmon Arm. (Contributed)

Habitat for Humanity seniors housing project in Salmon Arm moving forward

Twenty two units to be provided on 10th Avenue NE

Along with a ReStore, Habitat for Humanity Kamloops has another project in the works in Salmon Arm.

A 22-unit seniors housing project is planned for 1351 10th Ave. NE, not far from the Salmon Arm Health Centre and Service BC.

Bill Miller, executive director of Habit for Humanity Kamloops, says the project is now in the design process and the organization will probably be applying for a development permit within the next month.

“If everything goes well, we could be in-ground in July-ish…” he remarks. “We’d like to get it started this year between July and September.”

He says the architect has provided some interesting design concepts regarding mobility.

“We’re pretty excited about this – it’s going to be a very innovative building for seniors.”

Read more: Habitat for Humanity ReStore planned for former Safeway location in Salmon Arm

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The plan is to create an ‘aging-in-place’ building, where accessibility will be key. The suites will be more open and designed for mobility as seniors age.

He says there will also be common areas for service providers to come in.

“It’s a good location for the project, with some pretty nice views, and close to existing facilities.”

The building will include one- and two-bedroom units, with the mix still being finalized.

Asked about cost, Miller says that hasn’t been determined yet as a lot will depend on design, he says, adding that Habitat’s programs are designed to be attainable or affordable.

One unique aspect to the seniors project will be an opportunity for seniors who already own a residence and are considering downsizing.

“We may look at taking that house on trade,” he said, if the value of the house would be within a reasonable price range where a Habitat family could be placed there.

“I call it a housing continuum; it gives the seniors an opportunity to downsize and gives us some inventory for families,” he says, noting the proposal would not fit for all seniors or houses.

Read more: People who are homeless in Salmon Arm provide consultants with key information

Read more: Habitat for Humanity plans to open ReStore, build seniors’ housing in Salmon Arm

Miller says Habitat is also looking at a couple of other locations in Salmon Arm for either single-family or townhouse-type projects.

He points out that what the organization can do is entirely dependent on access to land.

“Finding it is the issue.”

Referring to past financing of single family housing, he said historically Habitat projects were of the barn-raising model, where people came together and donated time and materials.

That model no longer works in today’s economy where land prices are as high as they are, Miller explains.

“In Kamloops, our average house price went over $500,000 in April of last year.”

The word now used is “attainability” instead of “affordability,” he says.

The mortgage model was changed where the organization blends contributions of grants, donations, in-kind gifts with a nominal amount of first-mortgage financing so the costs of building the house can be covered.

“There’s some very flexible financing.”

Miller says families building single-family homes still have to put in 500 hours of sweat equity.



marthawickett@saobserver.net

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