Affordable housing initiative in the works

The stress of finding affordable housing amidst the high cost of living in the Columbia Valley has plagued many people in the Valley.

The stress of finding affordable housing amidst the high cost of living in the Columbia Valley has plagued many people in the Valley.

The Family Resource Centre (FRC) will be working to put an end to the nightmare that many people have been facing when it comes to finding shelter for a reasonable price.

Pat Cope, the executive director of the FRC, accepted a $9,500 Regional District of East Kootenay Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Programs 2015-16 approved project grant with the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) on June 22nd when the agreement was inked at the FRC.

“The goal of that grant is to increase affordable housing in the Columbia Valley, so we’ll be using the Need and Demand (Assessment Update) study that was completed in June of 2013,” said Ms. Cope.

The Need and Demand Assessment Update was developed to measure the market demands for affordable housing and to identify a collective approach to cater to the needs of individual communities within the Columbia Valley.

The FRC Affordable Housing Initiative is a two-year initiative that begins with reviewing the findings within each community documented in the Need and Demand Assessment Update, determining building and land opportunities to build additional affordable housing in each community, collaborating with stakeholders, prioritizing based upon need and opportunities the development of additional housing and seeking the funds to cover the cost of the initiative.

The second stage of the initiative will be finalizing funding and constructing additional housing throughout the Columbia Valley.

“The first phase of the initiative is to get us to a point where we can identify possible building sites within the valley, identify what is needed to build in those locations and engage with those funders to identify funding streams and sources for the initiative.” said Ms. Cope, noting shelter is a basic need for human survival. “Finalizing the funding and developing the initiative would take place in the second year.”

The FRC will be investigating a way to secure more funding for the housing initiative, as the initial request for a grant was for $45,000.

The total cost of the initiative is expected to be around $53,000.

“There are lots of important, meaningful initiatives,” concluded Ms. Cope. “I’m not focussing on this initiative with a negative outlook because we didn’t get all of our funding. I’m just glad that I didn’t have to decide who gets what, FRC will move forward with a positive attitude and stretch this grant money out as much as we can.”