Sidney Mayor McNeil-Smith said he would be to deepen formal ties with Habitat for Humanity in Sidney.
“I would certainly look forward to the opportunity to present this an option for consideration,” he said last month following a presentation from Yolanda Meijer, executive officer for Habitat for Humanity Victoria.
Sidney annually review its strategic plan with council having endorsed the current plan in February 2019. It currently reads that Sidney “will continue to look for opportunities to collaborate with partners [such as] Capital Regional District, Provincial and Federal Governments, housing societies and developers.”
Habitat for Humanity has previously built six homes in Sidney with help of a private partner, with five homes still part of its inventory.
Construction of 10 Habitat for Humanity homes is currently underway near the municipal boundary between North Saanich and Sidney as part of a larger housing project that has seen Reay Developments donate a piece of land valued at $1.2 million.
Meijer said the project is an example of delivering market housing with affordable housing concurrently, but also acknowledged that finding suitable land has been a challenge for Habitat projects.
“I’m aware of some areas in Sidney, where we do some vacant town-owned property in a residential area,” said McNeil-Smith later. “It might be something that we can consider. It is a unique opportunity compared to the other affordable [housing], non-profit organizations.”
Meijer said demand for Habitat homes has been high. The organization, she added, is currently reviewing 100 viable expressions from 300 applicants for 10 possible families to purchase one of the homes.
Habitat Victoria homeowner families must have children living in the home, with at least one child being under 10 years old at the time the family qualifies for ownership. Families must also have the ability to financially manage the mortgage and homeowner expenses, be willing to contribute 500 hours of volunteer service with Habitat, and have a gross household annual income between $35,000 and $80,000 — depending on the number of bedrooms.
Habitat sells the homes to the qualifying families at fair market value, but no down payment is required if the family can’t afford it, the mortgage is interest free and payments are assessed annually to be no more than 30 per cent of the family’s gross household income.
The families must also be Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have lived in the Greater Victoria area for at least two years.