A new building in Victoria’s downtown core will be the saving grace for some who have been waiting for more affordable and supportive housing options.
The building will be located in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue, right across the street from Our Place Society. It will offer 205 home rental options for supportive and affordable housing for those who need it.
All in all, the new 20-storey building will host 158 rental homes that are affordable, 47 supportive homes and a community space that is 16,000 square-feet that would include childcare and recreation areas.
The building is being made possible by the efforts of BC Housing, the Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC) and the City of Victoria.
Victoria has pushed the approval of this building through the finish line of the approval process by way of their April 2022 initiative for the Rapid Deployment of Affordable Housing Resources process, which gives the city the tool to approve vitally important housing projects and initiatives.
The City of Victoria passed the Rapid Deployment of Affordable Housing Resources in April, which gives the city the ability to bypass certain processes in building affordable housing.
The Rapid Deployment of Affordable Housing Resources’ goal is to quickly and swiftly build projects by government, non-profit and co-op organizations without rezoning or public hearings, so long as the projects are in line with the City’s Official Community Plan.
“It’s the first of hopefully many tectonic shifts in how Victoria is improving the housing development process,” said former mayor Helps at the time of the act passing in April.
Since then the province has also committed to helping local governments remove red tape in developing affordable housing initiatives and projects with their Housing Supply Act.
What the building will offer
To gain access to this building, residents will have to apply via the CRHC and eligibility will be based solely on income for the 158 rental homes.
BC Housing will be operating the 47 supportive housing units through a third party, non-profit organization.
Some of the supportive housing services that will be provided will be having outreach workers on-site, life-skills training programs and experts, assistance in finding gainful employment, community building services with support groups and individualized services from a staff who will know the needs and goals of all that reside in the building.
To apply for the supportive units with BC Housing, residents will go through a process to ensure a mix of residents whose needs can be met receive the units. These tenants will pay rent, but that may be on a sliding scale like in some other BC Housing supportive home units.
Tenants will also have to sign a rental agreement and a good neighbour agreement.
Part of the operating organization’s duties in running the building will be to provide staff on a 24/7 basis, provide security features including cameras and lighting, enforce policies about smoking and guests and clean the property regularly.
According to BC Housing, the City of Victoria will be responsible for the operation and staffing of the childcare centre and community space.
The building’s construction will commence in 2024 and is expected to be completed in 2027 with residents able to move in shortly after in 2028.
Although its development was pushed through because of Victoria’s Rapid Deployment of Affordable Housing Resources process, BC Housing say they want to keep the community up to date through town halls and webinars.
The last of three webinars is taking place Thursday evening via Zoom.
- Where: Online via a Zoom link
- When: Thursday, December 8th, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.