This is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Need for housing in Salmon Arm climbs while units being constructed

More demand for temporary shelter and much earlier than in 2019

During the coronavirus pandemic, affordable housing being constructed in Salmon Arm by BC Housing and the Canadian Mental Health Association is moving forward, while the demand for accommodation keeps rising.

One of two four-storey affordable rental buildings at 540 Third St. SW is the closest to being finished, with an anticipated completion date before the end of 2020 or early 2021, said Dawn Dunlop, executive director with CMHA Shuswap-Revelstoke.

Named Larch Place, it sits in the back corner of the property that fronts on Third Street SW.

It and a second affordable rental building, Birch Place, will provide a total of 67 units with a mix of one- to four-bedroom designs for families, seniors and people with disabilities. Rents will be geared to income, which means people will pay approximately 30 per cent of their gross household income.

Birch Place sits close to the fence along Fifth Avenue SW, the building currently covered in white Tyvek house wrap. It is expected to be complete in April 2021, Dunlop said.

Once details are finalized, CMHA will hold a community engagement session to provide the public with information such as how to apply, she explained.

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

Read more: Residents asked to share ideas for housing needs in Salmon Arm

In the meantime, CMHA runs 150 units of housing, but wait lists are long and vacancies are few. However, Dunlop encourages people who are looking for housing to start the process by going onto the BC Housing Registry to apply.

A third building going up at the front of the property, Cedar Place, will feature 38 studio units with on-site supports for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Cedar Place is expected to be complete in the fall of 2021.

Dunlop said housing has been in a crisis situation for a long time, which continues during the pandemic and even seems to be getting worse.

“People from all walks of life are having trouble accessing housing. We are seeing people across the range,” Dunlop said.

She added that CMHA gets many calls, many drop-ins and many people registering for housing.

Recently, as winter gets closer, people who would not come inside before are now looking for accommodation.

Read more: COVID-19: McGuire Lake building secured for temporary housing, Lighthouse shelter to move in

Read more: Freezing cold emphasizes need for drop-in centre for Salmon Arm’s homeless

Dunlop said CMHA works closely with Lieutenant Joel Torrens and his team at the Salvation Army, which owns the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter and is currently, because of COVID-19, operating temporary housing at the former McGuire Lake Congregate Living facility at 551 Trans-Canada Hwy.

Torrens said although usage at the McGuire Lake facility was low during the summer, the increase in need has been surprising.

“There are more people that need spaces than there are spaces to fit into,” he said. “It seems to be the reality throughout the region.”

He said the Salvation Army has been working with BC Housing to add capacity while adhering to Interior Health standards, possibly by having two people to a room.

The Lighthouse shelter, which is now closed, reached its highest number, 21, on one of the coldest nights last winter. Torrens said that number will soon be surpassed when more spaces at McGuire Lake become available.

Although McGuire Lake was opened as a temporary measure during the pandemic because it offers space where people can be isolated if necessary, it will continue for now because the pandemic remains.

Torrens notes how collaboration with and help from other organizations has been essential and much appreciated. For instance, Sorrento Centre has provided three meals a day at the facility for months, CMHA provided furniture, BC Housing funded renovations.

“It’s been a journey and we still have a ways to go. We’re looking at doing this better and better every day. Seeing how everyone has worked together to make this happen has been incredible,” Torrens said.

CMHA’s Dawn Dunlop also referred to the need for collaboration in providing a permanent housing supply.

She expressed appreciation for the city’s role in forming a housing task force to work on affordable housing. She also said provincial participation was key in Salmon Arm’s current projects and she encourages people to make affordable housing a priority topic during the provincial election.

“No one can do affordable housing on their own,” she emphasized.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon ArmHousing and Homelessness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


BC Housing, partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association, is constructing three buildings at the corner of 540 Third St. SW in Salmon Arm. Started first was the building, back right, which, along with the white building at back left, will provide 67 units of affordable housing for families, seniors and people with disabilities. The third building, in front, will provide 38 units with on-site supports for people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Just Posted

Volunteers have been hard at work clearing the Salmon Arm Snowblazers’ trail system. (Salmon Arm Snowblazers-Facebook)
Salmon Arm Snowblazers plan for sledding season affected by pandemic

Club feeling fundraising pinch after events cancelled due to virus.

Steven Stuart Gardner has been charged with possession of a firearm contrary to an order and possession of a firearm without a licence. He has also been charged, under the Motor Vehicle Act, with driving while prohibited. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Car connected to shooting, dumped in Chase leads to unrelated arrest

Investigation of Kamloops shooting leads police to a rural Chase property

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

Despite health and safety measures put in place for its July 3 reopening, the Salmar Grand hasn’t seen the audience numbers needed to remain open seven days a week. (File photo)
Salmon Arm’s Salmar Grand movie theatre reduces days of operation

Lack of new movie releases, limited audience numbers lead to decision

School District 83 will see another teacher reduction, this one expected at South Broadview Elementary come Monday, Oct. 26. (File photo)
Union objects to reductions in teaching positions in North Okanagan-Shuswap

South Broadview Elementary expected to see reduction of kindergarten teacher on Oct. 26

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A 20-year-old man was pronounced dead following a three vehicle collision on Highway 1 west of Revelstoke Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (File photo)
One dead after Highway 1 crash near Revelstoke

20-year-old man pronounced dead at the scene of a three vehicle collision west of Revelstoke

Volunteer registered nurse Stephanie Hamilton recieves a swab from a driver as she works at a Covid-19 testing site in the parking lot at Everett Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
13 more COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

There are 624 cases in the region since the start of the pandemic

The body of Natsumi Kogawa, 30, was found in the Gabriola Mansion on Davie Street, Vancouver, in September 2016. Vernon man William Schneider, who was found guilty of second-degree murder, now awaits the decision of his appeal hearing Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (Vancouver Police Department photo)
No decision yet for Vernon man appealing murder sentence

William Victor Schneider was convicted in relation to Natsumi Kogawa’s death in 2016

Vernon once again boasts the lowest gas prices in B.C. Oct. 20, 2020. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
North Okanagan boasts lowest gas prices in B.C.

Gas going up, and down, in Vernon specifically

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 confirmed at Kelowna Francophone school

École de L’Anse-au-sable is not affiliated with local SD23

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP received footage of a suspect vehicle littering hate flyers around 21st Avenue in Vernon Oct. 17, 2020. (RCMP)
WATCH: Footage offers lead in hate-fuelled flyer probe: Vernon Mounties

Vernon police received footage of an older model green truck distributing flyers in the early morning hours Saturday

Most Read