Hitting on housing: local group begins advancing work on building housing units

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
December 4th, 2023

The search is on in the region for land to develop and build non-market, affordable, workforce housing units.

Led by the Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership (NAEDP) and M’akola — including Community Futures, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce — the group has drafted a Greater Nelson Housing Entity Study which is now looking to identify municipal and regional land that is suitable for non-market, affordable housing.

As well, the group revealed in a mid-November meeting with the Regional District of Central Kootenay board of directors that one of their next steps would be to develop a land disposal process and strategy for places to build on.

The group is expected to identify and partner with non-profit operators in the region outside of Nelson within the next two years to respond to provincial and federal government funding calls.

They will “explore financial options to establish a pre-development fund (PDF) to assist non-profit operators with the planning and pre-development costs of building new affordable housing,” noted the presentation to the board on Nov. 16.

The next step in the project — the third phase — is to research the best practices for a municipal or regional land disposal strategy, in order to secure land for future projects and developments.

As well, the coalition will be looking to create a pre-development workplan that includes development activities, priorities, expected budgets and timelines.

One of the major areas of work will be to identify potential funding mechanisms to support the implementation of a housing development corporation for the region, and establish a regional housing service bylaw.


Longer look

Further down the road — on a three- to five-year timeline — the group will be looking to establish a municipal housing development corporation to facilitate the development of non-market, affordable, workforce housing units.

“The goal of the corporation would be to develop and service the land, build non-market, affordable housing with support from senior funders, and partner with existing community operators,” the presentation noted.

The corporation would act as a land steward or housing facilitator and partner with existing non-profits to operate the units.

“It is recommended that the City (of Nelson) work closely with existing non-profit societies to ensure a spirit of collaboration, not competition, for limited resources,” the presentation explained.


Rural requirements

There are several points to remedy from the rural perspective as it relates to housing:

  • Identify regional district-owned sites in electoral areas E and F which are appropriate for non-market, affordable housing and sell or lease the land to the corporation at a reduced cost or nominal fee for the purposes of development;
  • support and collaborate with the RDCK to facilitate site specific feasibility and planning work;
  • create a shared service model that allows for the RDCK to pay for or cost share land upgrades and servicing on electoral area sites;
  • representatives from electoral areas E and F of the RDCK could sit on the corporation’s board to provide regional governance oversight; and
  • explore a regional housing entity approach.

Source: Greater Nelson Housing Entity Study


Funding opportunities

There are several arms of financial support to help the region achieve the housing proposal.

  • B.C. Housing — Community Housing Fund (CHF)

There is a $3.3 billion investment to build over 20,0000 affordable rental homes for people with moderate and low incomes by 2031-32. The cost would be $158,000 per unit, with a funding call expected in summer/fall of 2024.

  • Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC) Co-Investment Funding

Provides capital to partnered organizations that have secured funding from other levels of government for new affordable housing. Funding available for up to $75,000 per unit. Assistance is provided for closing funding gaps.

Source: Greater Nelson Housing Entity Study

This post was syndicated from https://thenelsondaily.com
Categories: General