It took under one year to complete construction, but the affordable housing for seniors in Okanagan Falls was a project that was long in the works.
On Oct. 3 the official grand opening will take place for the South Skaha Housing Society project, South Skaha Place (located at 5081 8th Avenue), that provides 26 units of affordable housing for independent seniors.
“We have had a good reception so far … a couple of tenants have already been confirmed. One tenant has paid in full and will be moving in Oct. 1,” said Leslie D’Andrea, board director for the South Skaha Housing Society. “Eight applicants have completed the application process and are waiting to view the suites. As we have just received full access to our site (Monday), we expect more applications to be received and processed now.”
There are 24 one bedroom suites, two of the two bedroom suites and of all the one bedroom suites there is one unit that is fully accessible and two that are adaptable. Rental costs will be $750 a month for one bedroom units and $975 a month for two bedroom suites. Applicants must be 55 years old or over.
“We are so pleased with everything. It has been quite the process from when this whole thing started with a needs assessment for Okanagan Falls years ago. It identified seniors affordable housing as a priority which spurred the application for grants. This all didn’t happen overnight, it has been a couple years worth of work,” said D’Andrea. “We are pretty pleased that it is built on schedule and on budget.”
The assessment showed that population trends since the early 2000s indicated the proportion of adults aged 65 and older living in Okanagan Falls is increasing.
While the building boasts it is centrally located to a physician, a dentist, post office, pharmacy and other amenities, D’Andrea said it was disappointing when the only grocery store in Okanagan Falls announced it would be closing in early September.
“It was definitely a setback, but there is only so much we can control. I know the area director is also concerned about the community not having a grocery store and I believe is actively looking for a solution,” said D’Andrea.
BC Housing provided a final project commitment on June 20, 2018 for construction financing including a capital grant up to $5.9 million. The South Skaha Housing Society have managed the project with guidance from Actor Development Consulting Inc., Greyback Construction Ltd and support of BC Housing staff. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has provided support, tax exemptions and waived the development cost charges. A capital grant was also provided to be applied towards the development and building permit fees.
The official grand opening takes place on Oct. 3 at 2 p.m. Applications for housing can be picked up at the Okanagan Falls Library, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen community services office, Okanagan Falls Visitors Information Centre and Locke Property Management (528 Main St. in Penticton).
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