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Aug 01, 2017 Return to Headlines

Affordable Housing Fund Supports Seniors’ Rental Units

by Robbin Whachell |

COQUITLAM, BC, August 1, 2017 – Coquitlam’s affordable housing fund will help create 14 subsidized units in a new 67-unit rental building for seniors.

On July 10, Coquitlam Council voted to grant $177,545 from the City’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund towards a Finnish Canadian Rest Home Association (FCRHA) project at 1226 Johnson St. that will include 76 market townhouse units and a 67-unit seniors’ rental building with 14 below-market rental units. The project has now received final approval of the rezoning and Development Permit.

The inclusion of both seniors’ rental units and subsidized units in the project was a condition for approval of changes to the site’s Official Community Plan designation and zoning.

The AHRF – part of the City’s Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS) – was established to support housing for low- and low-to-moderate income households, and is supported by a 10 per cent share of the density bonusing fees that developers pay in order to build extra units. The fund’s current balance of about $9.3 million is projected to grow to $25 million over the next 30 years, based on current development trends.

In the case of the Johnson Street project, the AHRF grant requested by the FCRHA equates to the projected Development Cost Charges and building permit fees for the 14 subsidized units, which will remain below market for the life of the project and will be available to low-income B.C. residents aged 60 or older.

This is the first time a grant from the AHRF has helped to support the creation of affordable housing units specifically for seniors. The use of the funds in this way aligns with HAS Policy 1.3, which directs the City to facilitate housing affordability through initiatives that offset development costs.

The below-market rates for the 14 units will be a maximum of 80 per cent of average market rents. The FCRHA, which is partnering with Intracorp Project Limited on the project, will sustain the rental subsidy for the 14 units through income from the remaining 53 market units in the building, as well as private donations. In addition, seniors who live in the 14 units must be eligible for BC Housing’s Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) Program, which provides rental support for low-income seniors who meet certain criteria.

Construction of the seniors’ housing project is expected to begin later this summer.
For more information about Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy, visit www.coquitlam.ca/housing.

About Coquitlam’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund
The AHRF acts as the City’s financial contribution towards increasing the supply of housing options for low and low-to-moderate income households. It is an important tool for contributing towards affordable housing solutions, a goal of Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS).

Over the next 30-35 years the fund could grow to reach $20-25 million, depending on development activity, as the AHRF is primarily funded through a portion of the City’s optional, zoning-based Bonus Density Program. There are a number of ways the Fund can be used to support affordable housing projects.

The City evaluates AHRF funding requests based on the following criteria:

  1. Ability to leverage the City’s contributions in combination with other partners to provide value and address the community’s housing affordability needs;
  2. Appropriateness for targeted populations;
  3. Projects that can, in some manner, pay back all or part of any funds to the AHRF;
  4. Projects that can help provide greater self-sufficiency for the people served;
  5. Community fit; and
  6. Availability of AHRF funds.

The City is actively seeking applications for partnership opportunities through the fund. For more information visit www.coquitlam.ca/housing.

About Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy
Through the Housing Affordability Strategy, Coquitlam's goal is to work with partners from the non-profit, private and public sectors to ensure that a wide variety of housing types, sizes, tenures and prices can be offered in Coquitlam in the years to come.

The Strategy also recognizes that local government's mandate and resources to address housing affordability are limited without partnerships and funding from other levels of government.

The HAS provides a vision, objectives, policy directions and specific actions to address housing affordability. www.coquitlam.ca/housing

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Media contact:
Jim McIntyre
General Manager, Planning and Development
jmcintyre@coquitlam.ca
604-927-3401

 

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