Port Alberni will be benefitting from new affordable rental housing, thanks to funding from the provincial government.
In a release Tuesday morning, the Province of British Columbia announced it is committing $492 million to deliver affordable mixed-income rental homes to 42 communities in B.C.
1,274 of the 4,900 new homes are earmarked for Vancouver Island. Port Alberni will be getting 87 of these units.
“It’s a pretty big investment for the Alberni Valley,” said Scott Fraser, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim.
The province will be committing $8.7 million in two different projects for Port Alberni. BC Housing will be partnering with the Alberni Low Energy Housing Society to provide 47 units of housing for low-income seniors and families. They will also be partnering with the West Coast Native Health Care Society to provide 40 units for individuals and families, with a focus on Indigenous people.
This comes after the recent announcement that Port Alberni will be benefitting from 20 units of second-stage housing for women and children fleeing violence. 30 units of modular, supportive housing have also been installed near the Port Alberni Shelter Society for the community’s homeless.
“We’re trying to address [the housing crisis] on every level,” said Fraser on Tuesday.
The recent “flurry” of housing announcements, he said, is a reflection of the community’s “pent-up need.” Fraser has been involved in the Alberni Valley Community Stakeholders Initiative to End Homelessness Committee since it was established back in 2007 out of his own office.
“We recognized right from the very beginning that this was a key problem for the whole community and that it was going to get worse,” said Fraser. “But at that time, we didn’t have a partner in the province. It’s been a long time coming.”
Fraser said the new rental housing is expected to be ready within the next two to three years, but this is only the first set of projects in a 10-year strategy. The provincial government has invested $1.9 billion in a Building BC: Community Housing Fund that plans to build more than 14,000 units across the province for seniors, families and low-and-middle-income earners.
“This is only a third of that commitment,” said Fraser.