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Province steps in to secure housing for Alberni apartment tenants

CHMA receives $3-million grant to help purchase building near city hall
Residents living in the 41-unit King George Apartments on Fifth Avenue and Argyle Street in Port Alberni will be able to remain there after the Canadian Mental Health Association and Province of B.C. partnered to purchase the building in May 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

PORT ALBERNI - More people in Port Alberni will be able to remain in their homes at current rents, with the Province facilitating the purchase of the 41-unit King George Apartments.

Located at 3131 Fifth Ave. at Argyle Street, the building provides one- and two-bedroom units that cost considerably less than average market rents in the area—ranging from approximately $500 to $633 per month. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Port Alberni had leased the apartment building for the past nine years.

The building was recently listed on the market for sale. However, CMHA wanted to find a way to secure this affordable housing for its clients and ensure rental rates were not impacted by a purchase by a private investor or developer. That’s why the province and CMHA Port Alberni partnered to acquire the building.

“With this affordable housing building for sale, there was a real chance that whoever purchased it would redevelop the site or raise rents significantly,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “By purchasing this building, we are making sure that people in the community continue to have rental homes they can afford.”

CMHA received a grant of $3 million and low-interest financing of $1.86 million from the province to purchase the building, which provides rental homes for people with moderate and low incomes.

“Considering the current, critical housing shortage in Port Alberni, we are relieved to be able to secure these below-market rentals for the future,” said Katrina Kiefer, executive director, CMHA Port Alberni.

“This purchase will provide stable, safe, affordable homes indefinitely, allowing CMHA to continue to provide services to our population focused around community wellness. We are grateful for the past generosity of the building owner and the provincial government, through BC Housing, for its forward-thinking actions that made this housing possible.”

One tenant who lives in the building said he was relieved to know he wouldn’t have to leave the building now that it has been sold. He was also happy to hear the same building managers would be staying on.

The sale of the building closed on May 11, 2021, with no disruption or change for tenants.

About the Author: Alberni Valley News Staff

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