Two new housing projects are on the way to Sooke that will provide 75 affordable rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes, along with 33 supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness in the community.
Construction is expected to begin this month on the 75 new affordable rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes at 2170 Charters Rd. The building will provide studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom homes for individuals, Elders, seniors and families.
SPN asked about their definition of “affordable.” From a BC Housing statement: “Thirteen of the units in the Charters Road project will be rented at the provincial shelter rate of $375 per month. Final rental rates for the remaining units will be known when the project is closer to completion next year. These units will be market rentals for people with low to moderate incomes.”
SPN asked about the status of the housing development on Drennan announced earlier in 2020, originally schedules for completion in 2021. From a BC Housing statement: “In addition to the 33 supportive homes at the Hope Centre and the 75 affordable rental homes on Charters Road, we are actively working with partners to develop 170 rental homes for seniors and families at 6480 Drennan St. Construction on the Drennan project is expected to start this spring and conclude in September 2022. The timeline for construction of the Drennan project shifted due to some changes in design for better efficiency and costing.”
The building is estimated to open in 2022. The project is a partnership between the Province, M’akola Housing Society, the federal government and the Capital Regional District.
In addition, the Province, through BC Housing, has purchased the Hope Centre at 6750 West Coast Rd. from M’akola and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Vancouver Island. The building will undergo renovations to accommodate 33 supportive homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, a service hub with six shelter beds, programming space for training/outreach services, and a commercial kitchen.
The plan is to gradually transition the building into supportive housing over the coming months. The Sooke Shelter society will operate the new building with staff on-site 24/7 to provide support services to residents, including life skills training, mentorship and other programming. Partnering agencies, including Island Health and Aids Vancouver Island, will be on-site to support residents’ access to mental health and other health services.
“On behalf of the District of Sooke, I am grateful to BC Housing, M’akola Housing, the Sooke Shelter Society and many other agencies, which are working in collaboration and co-ordination to support our community to have access to affordable and supportive housing,” said Maja Tait, mayor, District of Sooke. “I would like to recognize and thank these agencies for the tremendous resources they have put into these projects. So much work has been taking place behind the scenes to invest in the well-being of our people, and today’s announcement is the culmination of those efforts.”
The Hope Centre currently provides rental homes for people with low incomes. M’akola has already reached out to current residents, who will be able to stay if they wish to. The society will work with these residents to discuss their future plans and support those who wish to transition to other housing options.
SPN asked for more information about the new decision to purchase the Hope Centre. From a BC Housing statement: “There is an urgent need to secure housing for people experiencing homelessness in Sooke and the purchase of the Hope Centre secures additional supportive homes for the community. Renovations to the building will convert the units and ground floor level into supportive homes with necessary administrative space, communal gathering space, a kitchen and shelter.
“Existing tenants aren’t being asked to leave and they can stay as long as they wish. However, if and when existing tenants decide to leave, the plan is to transition those units into supportive housing, and eventually the whole building. Those who wish to leave will be supported by M’akola to find affordable rental housing options among their existing housing stock.”
A community advisory committee (CAC) will be formed, which will include project partners and neighbourhood representatives. The CAC will oversee the project’s integration within the community and help address any concerns that may arise.
- The federal and provincial governments, and the Capital Regional District (CRD), are investing $4.5 million from the Regional Housing First Program for the project at 2170 Charters Rd.
- The Regional Housing First Program is an equal partnership between the governments of Canada and B.C., and the CRD.
- Announced in 2018, the partnership will invest $120 million to construct up to 2,000 units of affordable housing.
- The Province will purchase 13 units that will be rented at the provincial shelter rate of $375 per month.
- M’akola Housing Society will own the remaining 62 units. The society is transferring $4 million of equity it received from the Hope Centre sale toward the construction of the project.
- The CRD is providing $330,000 through the Regional Housing Trust Fund to support the development of the remaining affordable rental units within the project.
- The Province is investing $8.5 million through the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund to purchase and renovate the Hope Centre and will provide annual operating funding of approximately $820,000.
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