Two new affordable housing projects are coming to Saanich after council gave them unanimous approval this week.
The first is a 45-unit complex for seniors who are currently homeless or living in substandard conditions. The four-storey complex will be located at Quadra Street and Tolmie Avenue and run by the Victoria Cool Aid Society.
“It’s desperately needed housing for [Cool Aid’s] clients, moving them from homelessness or couch surfing situations, so this gives a transition for them,” said Mayor Frank Leonard. “We’ve always been anxious to take advantage of an opportunity to reduce the homeless situation in the region.”
This will be Cool Aid’s second building in Saanich. The first is Olympic Vista, a 36-unit building on Carey Road.
“There are many seniors [who] are living in extremely substandard housing,” said John Crean, manager of housing for the Victoria Cool Aid Society.
“Our priority right now is to get as many seniors out of shelters and out of substandard living situations as we possibly can.”
Cool Aid is currently waiting for the go-ahead from BC Housing before construction can begin.
“This [project] has been years in the making, and here we are almost at the finish line, so we’re quite pleased,” Crean said.
Residents for the complex will be chosen by a committee that uses a rating system to find the neediest seniors in the community, he said.
Habitat For Humanity complex approved
The second affordable housing project is a four-unit townhouse by Habitat for Humanity Victoria.
The homes will be built at 4000 Cedar Hill Cross Rd., where an old farmhouse is currently sitting.
Habitat for Humanity Victoria currently has nine units in Saanich. With this new addition, there will be 13.
“I literally say my door’s open for [Habitat for Humanity] to come in with proposals because we feel so strongly about them,” Leonard said. “They do such a good job.”
Habitat for Humanity hopes to get the building permit in the next four to six weeks, said Yolanda Meijer, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Victoria. She added they hope to have the families move in by June 2015.
The homes are built half by volunteers and half with paid labour, along with half of the funds being donated by people in the community, Meijer said.
“It simply wouldn’t happen without that community involvement,” she added.
Before the families can move in, each are required to perform 500 hours of “sweat equity,” in which they participate in the building of their new home.
The homes are sold to families making between $34,000 and $59,000 a year, who pay no more than 30 per cent of their gross income towards their mortgage and other home expenses.
Three of the four families for the new Habitat for Humanity units have been chosen already, but applications are still being accepted for the fourth family.
Anyone looking for more information about habitat for Humanity Victoria can go to habitatvictoria.com or call 250-386-7867.