More than 70 affordable units of seniors housing are coming to Mission, as the Province of B.C. announced funding for a project Friday morning.
About $7.4 million has been earmarked from the province’s community housing fund to build and operate 74 units of rental apartments for low- to moderate-income seniors.
“There is a housing crisis in British Columbia, and it’s not going to be fixed overnight. But we feel that this is a step in the right direction,” said Bob D’Eith, B.C. NDP MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, at a funding announcement at the Mission Seniors Activity Centre.
It’s the first affordable seniors rental housing project from the province since 1987, according to Judith Ray, secretary and treasurer of the Mission Association of Seniors Housing.
“Other projects have happened in the community since then, but from the point of view of just affordable rental, this is a huge step forward,” Ray said of the project, which will be located at 7682 Grand St.
“The fact that it’s going to be in this kind of a setting in the midst of the leisure centre activities, in a really wonderful corridor in terms of transit, right next to a seniors activity program area, is just a marvelous way of pulling together a whole lot of opportunities all in one place, so we’re thrilled.”
Tricia Schweers, executive director of the Mission Association of Seniors Housing, which will be receiving the funding to operate the housing, says the organization currently operates about 160 units of affordable housing for seniors.
“We are very well aware that the rental vacancy rate across the province is very, very low. Seniors that need affordable housing, that stock is very, very low. So we’re just very excited to fill that need, especially for our seniors,” Schweers said.
Those 160 units operated by the organization are spread over three projects, and Schweer said the new set of rental apartments would help to cut a hefty waitlist to get into the affordable units.
“Our waitlist, currently, as of today, is probably six months to a year for folks to be able to get in.”
The six-storey wood-frame building will include one- and two-bedroom units, and construction is expected to start in summer 2019.
Ray says applications to get into one of the rental units will not be starting until about a year before completion, due to the need to perform income testing to ensure those in need are the ones getting into the housing.