The City of Penticton is planning ahead getting ready to take advantage of any federal or provincial grants for affordable housing. (File illustration)

A proactive approach to the housing crisis

City staff are recommending Penticton help prepare affordable housing proposals

Penticton is going to be ready and waiting when the provincial and federal governments announce expect housing funding programs.

B.C. Housing has already approached city hall with a memorandum of understanding, asking the city to support a project for up to 52 units of modular housing for at-risk people and homeless.

Council will be asked at their Dec. 19 meeting to endorse a pair of recommendations: to approve the MOU for the development of supported modular housing as part of the provincial rapid housing response program; and to use funds from the city’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund to establish a program to assist local not-for-profit housing providers in preparing for expected provincial and federal housing funding announcements.

Homeless counts done by 100 Homes Penticton and through the city’s Housing Needs Assessment last you put some very real numbers to the amount of homeless in Penticton. Thanks to those efforts, the staff report says, the province has identified Penticton as a community where supported housing could be located.

Related: Nearly two-in-five renters living in inadequate housing: report – Penticton Western News

The province has committed to providing 114,000 affordable housing units, and $291 million dollars are budgeted for the construction of 2,000 units of modular housing for people at risk of homelessness.

“Suffice it to say, there will be substantial opportunities for senior government investment in housing in B.C.,” reads the staff report. “In speaking with B.C. Housing staff familiar with the situation in Penticton, the feeling is that Penticton needs to be well prepared to respond to the various expected funding announcements. This is an issue the city has, and should continue, to take leadership on.”

To assist the community’s not-for-profit housing providers, city staff are proposing the establishment of a partnering program, where city hall provides seed funding to interested groups to hire development consultants, a specialist who provides development assistance and advice to not-for-profit housing providers, who generally specialize in operating housing, not developing it. The goal of the program is to have shovel-ready Penticton projects when funding announcements are made.

City staff are anticipating grants of up to $5,000 per housing provider, but there is no estimate of the total cost of the program at this point. The Affordable Housing Reserve Fund is currently valued at about $160,000.

Related: Data shows growing amount of income spent on housing – Penticton Western News


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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