An affordable housing project slated for Cumberland has lost out on a grant opportunity through the province.
Mayor Leslie Baird updated council at the June 14 meeting on a project spearheaded by the Comox Valley Transition Society (CVTS) and Dawn to Dawn Action on Homelessness Society, saying they did not get BC Housing funding.
“This is hard to accept,” the mayor said. “These people cannot keep waiting for housing.”
The 22-unit project is planned for Second Street. The project applicants approached the village for a rezoning and official community plan amendment last year on three adjacent lots to be consolidated in order to provide a multi-family facility.
The problem, as Baird learned from a phone call with BC Housing, amounted to one of demand from too many community projects. In all, there turned out to be a total of more than 29,000 units that were being applied for. On Vancouver Island, 47 different applications were submitted for grants, which, Baird said, represents more interest than ever. The priority for the funding agency also seemed to be funding larger-scale projects, meaning those with more than 50 units.
“We’re not the only community that was not successful,” she added.
Unfortunately, the next round of applications is being accepted in about 18 months, which leaves families waiting, and the mayor suggested they may need to approach the premier.
Cumberland senior planner Karin Albert said the applicants are also hoping to apply for federal grant funding for the project.
“They haven’t given up, so that’s good news,” she said.
Others on council underscored the need to make the housing project happen in Cumberland.
“We will look for other options and keep pushing,” Coun. Jesse Ketler said.
The plan for the project is a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom units, at least 70 per cent of which are to be rented for no more than “rent geared to income,” or no more than 30 percent of total income.