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Columbia Basin Trust is providing nearly $1.5 million to help build 118 new affordable housing units in Cranbrook, Fernie, Nelson, Trail and Valemount.

“These units are a vital addition to the range of housing options in these five communities,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer. “We know that communities are healthier and more resilient when residents can access and afford suitable places to live, and we’re eager to see these projects become tangible spaces that will soon make a difference in people’s daily lives.”

The Fernie Family Housing Society is building 14 townhouses for families. The Valemount Affordable Rentals Society will be building 13 units for low-income seniors and families. The Nelson CARES Society will be constructing a 43-unit apartment building, providing spaces of varying sizes, from studio units up to three-bedroom units suitable for two licensed group homes. More information about this project can be found in this BC Government news release.

In Cranbrook, the Aqanttanam Housing Society will be significantly growing the number of affordable housing units it owns and manages. Adding to its current stock of 56 units, it will be building a new 39-unit apartment building on a property it owns. This building will offer a range of affordable housing options for individuals, single parents with children, families and seniors, most of whom will be Indigenous.

“Our waiting list has been growing each month by two to four individuals and families, despite our efforts to place them. If the trend continues, we will have an additional 30+ on our waiting list by the time our building is complete,” said Executive Director Austin Parisien, who mentions that many of these people are currently homeless or staying with friends and family in overcrowded homes. “We are excited we will be able to offer more affordable housing in Cranbrook.”

In Trail, Lower Columbia Affordable Housing will be developing new independent rental housing for low income families and seniors. The new building will house nine, one to three-bedroom units in a three-storey building that includes an elevator. The building will be located in East Trail by the Columbia River, a central location that will offer residents an easy walking distance to downtown, Gyro Park and many services. The building is being designed to a high level of energy efficiency which will keep the cost of utilities to a minimum. Applications for those interested in becoming tenants will be available in the fall.

“People in our community are having trouble finding safe and affordable housing as the market tightens up,” said Janet Morton, President of the Board at Lower Columbia Affordable Housing. “Future residents of this building may be currently living in situations that are too expensive, only temporary or don’t work well for their needs. The new units will offer an affordable and safe roof over their head which makes such a difference in their life.”

These five projects are also being supported with over $30 million from the Province through BC Housing. Expressions of Interest were issued by BC Housing in 2018 for affordable housing projects across BC. The Trust is supporting these five projects within the Basin that will commence construction in 2019 and are expected to be complete by 2021.

Since 2002, the Trust has supported the creation of nearly 1,000 affordable housing units in 24 Basin communities through affordable housing initiatives with local housing organizations, the federal and provincial governments, and student housing with local colleges. The Trust has also supported upgrades and repairs to over 1,000 affordable housing units. Over the next two years the Trust will continue to support Basin communities to develop project plans for affordable housing and construct new units. Learn more at ourtrust.org/housing.

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.

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