BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay said the HousingHub seeks to boost the supply of affordable housing for British Columbians. (Caitlin Clow - Kelowna Capital News)

BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay said the HousingHub seeks to boost the supply of affordable housing for British Columbians. (Caitlin Clow - Kelowna Capital News)

BC Housing initiative to boost affordable housing in Okanagan

HousingHub plan targets ‘missing middle’ with affordable rentals: CEO Shayne Ramsay

The HousingHub by BC Housing seeks to increase the supply of affordable housing for all British Columbians.

BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay said it is an initative that seeks innovative partnerships with local housing organizations to create affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities for people across the spectrum of housing needs, with a focus on the middle class.

READ MORE: Supportive housing first step to healing: BC Housing CEO

“We work across the housing spectrum, not just some of the developments you’ve seen in the news lately,” Ramsay said during the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce luncheon on July 23. “But also focusing our efforts on what has often been called the missing middle or work-force type housing.”

Middle income British Columbains are considered to be households earning an average of $70,000 to $150,000 depending on the community.

In Kelowna, one project is currently under construction on Clement Avenue on a former packinghouse site. The PC Urban project is designed to be accessible by the middle class.

“In this particular one on Clement, the market rents are affordable to households earning between $50,000 and $80,000,” Ramsay said.

The two, six-storey buildings will offer around 160 rental homes with one-bedroom apartments starting at $1,300 a month. The price for a two-bedroom unit is projected to be around $1,780 a month.

READ MORE: Developer breaks ground on Kelowna rental housing project

Through the HousingHub, PC Urban Properties CEO Brent Sawchyn said the project was made possible.

At the local level, Sawchyn said city council accommodated the project by approving it without requiring the inclusion of underground parking.

“The rents we would have had to charge would have had to have been much higher to offset the cost,” he said at the groundbreaking in May.

That same month, Kelowna was dubbed the seventh most expensive rental market in Canada with the average prices of a one-bedroom unit ringing in at $1,280 or $1,700 for a two-bedroom.

READ MORE: Kelowna 7th most expensive rental market in Canada

READ MORE: City of Kelowna defeats short-term rentals ‘for now’

BC Housing’s Ramsay said the government cannot spend its way out the housing crisis, however.

“It needs to seek innovative partnerships with partners across the spectrum,” he said. “In particular, local governments and the private sector (in order) to do things like shorten the approval process.”

Rezonings, for instance, can take upwards of a few years in Vancouver, Ramsay said. He noted the slow nature of processing doesn’t reflect a government managing a crisis effectively.

The HousingHub also seeks to protect existing housing, Ramsay said.

“One of the most important initiatives that was introduced was a significant fund to protect the existing stock of social housing that exists across the province,” he said. “It’s housing that we can’t lose. It’s our cheapest form of housing and making investments to ensure that lasts into the future is as important as building new forms of affordable housing.”

The hub provides low-cost financing to offset costs of new projects to ensure rental units are kept below market value. BC Housing staff offers expertise to assist in the planning and development process, offers access to pre-development funding and aids in project co-ordination.

By increasing the supply of affordable housing for rent, the HousingHub, in partnership with all levels of government, can improve the ability of renters to move into homeownership and in turn freeing up rental stock for new residents.


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

Enderby’s Small Axe Roadhouse was the subject of nasty backlash after installing two busty beer towers. (Facebook)
Enderby bar’s busty beer taps to stay put despite backlash

‘Many folks have mansplained to us that we are sexist, misogynistic…’

A petition was launched urging the District of Coldstream to consider adding a sidewalk to Aberdeen Road Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (Google Maps)
Aberdeen Road needs a sidewalk, says Coldstream resident

The district ran into a steep price tag and lack of land availability the last time they looked into the idea

Vernon resident David Melanson, 21, left the South Hills Tertiary Psychiatric Centre in Brocklehurst at about 1 a.m. on May 12, the day he was reported missing. (Contributed)
Body of missing Vernon man found in Kamloops Lake

David Melanson, 21, left psychiatric centre around 1 a.m. the day he was reported missing

Canadian author Paul Young, who wrote the critically acclaimed novel, the Shack, will join Vernon-based foundation, the Emily Dahl Foundation, for a Fireside Chat event in June 2021. (YouTube)
Acclaimed author to talk mental health at Vernon event

Paul Young, author of bestselling book The Shack, to join Emily Dahl Foundation for Fireside Chat June 8

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vikki and Don Holmberg with their three children Marshall, Ava and oldest Lexi who now lives on her own. The Penticton family is facing the prospect of homelessness after their rental home was sold, leading them to ask the community for help. (Contributed)
‘There’s just nothing’: housing crunch puts Okanagan family on the brink of homelessness

Housing crisis something many in the Okanagan can likely relate to, says mother of three

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Most Read