Province Funds Affordable Housing in Williams Lake
For Immediate Release
September 8, 2009
Ministry of Housing and Social Development
WILLIAMS LAKE – A new $7.9-million development that will provide 33 units of affordable housing for urban Aboriginal adults who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, officially broke ground today with provincial and community partners on site to celebrate.“The Province is committed to increasing housing solutions across B.C to help communities like Williams Lake provide affordable housing that meets the needs of its citizens,” said Donna Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin. “This development will benefit the community and offer stability and opportunity for residents of Williams Lake by providing them with safe, affordable housing.”
The Province provided a capital grant of $7.2 million through the Aboriginal Housing Initiative (AHI), which was created to provide funding to develop new, affordable housing for Aboriginal people living off-reserve and to meet long-term Aboriginal housing needs. In addition, the Province provided mortgage financing of $506,659 for the development. The City of Williams Lake provided development cost relief of $57,453 for this project.
“This development will make a real difference for individuals who will call it home and for the community of Williams Lake as a whole,” said Mayor Kerry Cook of Williams Lake. “The Cariboo Friendship Society has been a strong contributor to building a better life for individuals in our community and we commend them for continuing to pursue opportunities that expand Williams Lakes’ affordable housing stock.”
Cariboo Friendship Society (CFS) will oversee the construction and manage the development. CFS was one of the successful proponents following a proposal call for AHI housing developments issued in 2007 in consultation with the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA). Formed in B.C. in the mid-1990s, AHMA is the only Aboriginal social housing management agency in Canada.
“We strive to explore new ways to provide supportive and affordable housing for Aboriginal people in British Columbia by working with off-reserve Aboriginal communities to holistically address their housing needs,” said Andrew Leach, CEO of AHMA. “This development will give the Cariboo Friendship Society the ability to help more of their clients find affordable housing options.”
“We are proud of the progress we have made in creating a strong inventory of affordable housing stock for members of our Aboriginal community of Williams Lake,” said Rosanna McGregor, Cariboo Friendship Society. “It gives me great pleasure to work with the Province and be a part of the government’s strategy to meet long-term Aboriginal housing needs in B.C.”
The Aboriginal Housing Initiative has allocated 200 housing units in eight communities across the province. The units are being funded with $50.9 million in one-time funds through the Off-Reserve Aboriginal Housing Trust, which was transferred from the Government of Canada to the Province, and is designed to address the housing needs of clients, like those of the CFS. The Province is working in consultation with AHMA to administer the trust.
For a comprehensive and detailed look at provincial programs and services to address homelessness, visit the ‘Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness’ website www.bchousing.org/breakingthecycle for more information.
Ministry of Housing and Social Development
Cariboo Friendship Society’s Eagles Nest, located at 228 South Third Ave. in Williams Lake, will provide 33 units of affordable housing for Aboriginal singles who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The new four-storey wood frame building will be comprised of 16 one-bedroom units and 17 two-bedroom units. In addition, there will be four offices, a craft and storage room, and a resident’s laundry room. The building is designed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards.
Construction started in June 2009, with occupancy anticipated for summer 2010.
Partners and Funding
The capital cost of this development is approximately $7.9-million:
The Province provided a $7.2-million grant through the Aboriginal Housing Initiative (AHI) and mortgage financing of $506,659.
The City of Williams Lake provided $57,453 in development cost relief.
The Cariboo Friendship Society provided land equity estimated at $98,545 and cash equity of $37,000 for the project.
CARIBOO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY
Incorporated in 1969, the Cariboo Friendship Society (CFS) is a non-profit Aboriginal Centre of Friendship, offering holistic services to all people. CFS offers social service programs, recreational and cultural activities, and education and housing support. The society currently manages 63 units of affordable housing for low- to moderate-income Aboriginal individuals and families in Williams Lake.