Affordable housing grows from innovative partners coming together

A creative partnership is being credited for 34 affordable homes soon to be built in Courtenay. The development permit for 810 Braidwood was approved by Courtenay council on Monday.

“Affordable housing is in demand and it’s not an easy process. We’ve found innovative ways to create partnerships and that’s why we’re moving forward today,” said Kevin Albers, M’akola Housing Society CEO. “We are one step closer to building this housing that is urgently needed.”

The society has partnered with the Wachiay Friendship Centre, the City of Courtenay, K’ómoks First Nation, M’akola Development Services (MDS) and BC Housing in an innovative agreement to bring this concept to fruition.

“We are working with K’ómoks First Nation to ensure we honour and acknowledge their traditional territory respectfully and appropriately throughout the process,” said Albers.

M’akola Housing Society has increased its initial contribution of $250,000 up to $300,000 to make additional strategic capital investments which will increase sustainability features resulting in lower maintenance costs and lower utility cost for the tenants.

“For our tenants, increasing utility costs has been an ongoing challenge. By adding these sustainable features, we are working to reduce further barriers. The savings passed on to our tenants for the long-term is our priority,” said Albers.

MDS is the development consultant on the project. The team specializes in affordable housing and liaising between First Nations, non-profits and BC Housing.

“This is an exciting project for us to work on. We’ve learned for affordable housing to happen, we need to get creative and pull as many people to the table as we can,” said Kaela Schramm, MDS director of projects and planning. “The Braidwood project is an example of this type of forward-thinking.”

The provincial government approved $3 million in capital funding and the City contributed the land. Wachiay Friendship Centre will work with members of the community throughout the housing project’s operations.

“We are looking forward to working with M’akola Housing Society and M’akola Development Services to help our community members find much needed, safe, affordable housing in Courtenay,” said Roger Kishi, director-homeless and housing programs at Wachiay. “There is high demand in our community for housing for individuals right now.”