Rendering of a new Habitat for Humanity duplex on Ker Avenue in Saanich.

Saanich green lights affordable housing on Ker Avenue

  • May. 11, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Two low-income families will soon have a home to call their own.

Saanich council supported a Habitat for Humanity duplex on Ker Avenue Monday night, sending the project to public hearing.

“Affordable housing in Saanich is something we’re proud of,” Mayor Frank Leonard said. “We realize the South Island is an expensive place to live. Anything we can do to make it affordable is good for our community.”

The two-home project, located behind Pearkes recreation centre, would be the 17th and 18th Habitat homes in Greater Victoria. Designed by Zebra Designs, each side of the one-and-a-half story duplex will have three bedrooms and approximately 1,400-square-feet.

“We’re very excited about this location. It’s ideally situated near so many amenities,” said Yolanda Meijer, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Victoria. “The need is huge. We have a lot of conversations around affordable housing, but it’s typically from a rental perspective, not ownership.”

Habitat families put in sweat equity, assisting in building their homes, and purchase the home at fair market value with interest-free loans that are correlated with their income.

The money, paid back through the loan, goes into a Habitat fund that helps future builds, Meijer said. She calls it a “pay it forward model” that allows other low-income families to experience homeownership.

“One house at a time we want people to have safe and decent housing, and we want them to break the cycle of poverty by building equity,” Meijer said.

The property, at 409 Ker Ave., was donated to Habitat for Humanity by the province.

The application will likely go to public hearing in June.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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