SS Commons awarded $2.4 million

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A Salt Spring Community Services affordable housing project is among the first to receive approval under British Columbia’s new Community Housing Fund, with $2.4 million awarded to the mixed-income, 24-unit family development. 

“I think what this really does is it finally turns the big green light to get going. We’re ready to proceed as soon as possible,” said SSCS executive director Rob Grant. “We’re delighted and thrilled.”

Projects for middle-income families in 42 communities are on the way to getting started under the new fund, which was announced Tuesday in Vancouver by Premier John Horgan and Housing Minister Selina Robinson. Administered by BC Housing, it will see the province invest $1.9-billion over 10 years and build more than 14,000 affordable rental homes for seniors, families and low- and middle-income earners.

The first set of projects selected focuses on non-profits and co-ops, and will be built over the next two to three years. According to the Ministry of Housing news release, individual buildings will contain units aimed at a mix of income levels, including homes for middle-income individuals and families, deeply subsidized rentals for seniors and others on fixed incomes, and homes for low-wage workers.

Salt Spring Commons is an $8-million project that has been planned around multifamily townhouses and a common building. The most recent housing agreement approved by the Salt Spring Local Trust Committee is for 20 affordable home ownership units and four rental units to be owned and operated by Community Services.

Unlike many other proposed housing developments, the project has adequate water supply and correct zoning in place.

Community Services and project managers Green City Builders said they will have more information to share with the community in the coming weeks about the details of the BC Housing funding and requirements. They are willing to go with a full rental model but are awaiting further discussion with BC Housing staff to learn whether home ownership can re-enter the picture.

Grant said that some small bits of funding will still need to be found but the project cost is now largely covered. Private donors and Community Services have contributed to the capital fund. The organization will also carry a mortgage, with low-rate financing through BC Housing part of their agreement. 

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