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B.C. to spend $355M on affordable housing, premier says

The B.C. government will contribute $355 million to create roughly 2,000 affordable housing units across the province, says Premier Christy Clark.

Christy Clark says the money will be spent over five years to house low and moderate income earners

The B.C. government will commit $355 million toward creating roughly 2,000 new affordable housing units, Premier Christy Clark told reporters Feb. 12. (Volodymyr Kyrylyuk/Shutterstock)

The B.C. government will contribute $355 million to construct or renovate 2,000 affordable housing units across the province, says Premier Christy Clark.

Clark and Housing Minister Rich Coleman made the announcement in Vancouver on Friday.

Clark says the money will be spent over the next five years and is the largest single affordable housing investment in B.C.'s history. The units are aimed at housing people with low and moderate incomes.

"We know there is a big issue with respect to the cost of housing in the Lower Mainland, and this is intended to help alleviate that — to just make life a little more affordable for people in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country," Clark said.

Premier Christy Clark made the housing announcement, Feb 12, at a news conference with Housing Minister Rich Coleman. (CBC/ Farrah Merali)

The province says it has earmarked $50 million of the investment for each of the first two years, $75 million in the third year and $90 million in the final two years.

Details are still being worked out, and B.C. Housing says it will seek proposals from municipalities, non-profit societies and other community groups interested in creating appropriate developments.

Mayor offers city land for housing

Lack of affordable housing has been a hot topic especially in Metro Vancouver, where the price of a home is beyond the reach of even high-income earners.

Earlier this month, Mayor Gregor Robertson offered city land to go toward social housing.

Tony Roy, with the B.C Non Profit Housing Association, welcomed the announcement, saying there's still plenty of work to be done. That's where the federal governments needs to step in, Roy said.

"The social housing that we did build is so old now, so we're going to need to spend, we think, $190 million just to make that stuff livable, right?

"This is a very good announcement, but if all that money is spent making the old stuff liveable, the federal package is going to mean that when you combine it with what cities are doing, we can actually build new housing."

The funds will be distributed over a five-year-period starting in 2016 and ending in 2020.

with files by Farrah Merali and Canadian Press

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