In a bid to address the pressing need for affordable housing, the Province is reaching out to non-profit organizations, First Nations, municipalities, and other entities to submit proposals for the Building BC: Community Housing Fund (CHF). This initiative aims to bring new, affordable rental homes to individuals with moderate and low incomes.
Expanding Access to Affordable Housing
Ravi Kahlon, the Minister of Housing, acknowledged the ongoing housing crisis and emphasized that the latest round of CHF funding is designed to make affordable housing more accessible. The plan is to create around 3,500 homes, marking a significant step towards achieving the province’s goal of 20,000 CHF-funded homes by 2032. The intention is to rapidly increase the housing stock to meet the immediate and future housing needs of the population. Collaboration with numerous partners is driving this progress, although there’s recognition that much more effort is required.
Submission and Evaluation of Proposals
BC Housing is responsible for managing the proposals submitted for the CHF. The application window will remain open until mid-November 2023. Following the submission period, project proposals will undergo evaluation, with a projection of approximately 3,500 housing units to be announced in early 2024.
Encouraging Diverse Participation
Encouragement is extended to various entities, including non-profit organizations, housing co-operatives, municipalities, First Nations, and Indigenous-led societies, to put forth their housing proposals and seek funding. This response to the escalating need for secure and affordable housing in British Columbia is warmly welcomed by Thom Armstrong, CEO of the Co-operative Housing Federation of British Columbia. The upcoming support is expected to aid 3,500 households grappling with the challenges of an overheated housing market.
Prioritizing Impactful Projects
Projects will be assessed based on a range of criteria, including the specific populations they prioritize and the extent to which they address the community’s demand for affordable rental housing. Furthermore, funding will be available to develop projects that require additional work in preparation for subsequent CHF funding opportunities.
A Sign of Progress
An announcement was made at a 102-unit CHF project located at 75 and 95 Marine Dr. in Vancouver, a building funded by the CHF and operated by the New Chelsea Society. Vancouver’s commitment to delivering affordable housing remains strong, with Mayor Ken Sim expressing the city’s dedication to leading the region in housing approval and provision.
The Community Housing Fund’s Commitment
The CHF constitutes a substantial investment of $3.3 billion aimed at constructing over 20,000 affordable rental homes for individuals with moderate and low incomes by 2031-32. With approximately 9,000 homes already open or in progress across the province, this initiative is making substantial headway. Additional calls for CHF proposals will be issued over the next four years to allocate funding for the remaining units.
Addressing a Crucial Need
Given the rapid rise in rents in British Columbia, the timing of the Community Housing Fund’s contributions is especially critical. Jill Atkey, CEO of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association, highlighted the significance of this call for proposals. Non-profit housing providers eagerly await this opportunity, knowing that the developments they bring forth will positively impact countless individuals and families for generations to come.
Important Facts to Note:
- Under the CHF program, most residents (70%) pay rent based on their income, generally constituting 30% of their household income.
- This includes dedicating 20% of units for residents with very low incomes, such as recipients of income or disability assistance.
- The remaining 30% of units are made available at or below market rents for households with moderate incomes.
- The inaugural CHF intake occurred in 2018, followed by a second intake involving a two-stage proposal submission in the fall of 2020 and January of 2021.
- Through the CHF and other provincial investments since 2017, over 76,000 homes are either completed or in progress throughout British Columbia.
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