British Columbia

B.C. to spend $1.9 billion to build rental housing

British Columbia's government is investing $1.9 billion over the next 10 years to help build 14,000 affordable homes for renters.

20 per cent of units will have rents geared to social assistance rates

Premier John Horgan makes an announcement in Victoria on Wednesday about building more affordable housing in British Columbia. (Justin McElroy/CBC)

British Columbia's government is investing $1.9 billion over the next 10 years to help build 14,000 affordable homes for renters.

Premier John Horgan says fixing the housing crisis in the province isn't just about ownership, but making sure that those who rent can afford homes where they can have a future.

This is exactly what the non-for-profit housing sector has been asking for ... ' - Premier John Horgan

The new rental homes will be built through partnerships with municipalities, non-profit group and housing co-operatives. 

"This is exactly what the non-for-profit housing sector has been asking for ... We've got it here. We're ready to rock. It's exciting," said Horgan.  

While money for the initiative was included in February's budget, its delivery wasn't unveiled until Wednesday when the government announced the Building B.C. Community Housing Fund to which organizations can apply.

Each proposed project must include 20 per cent of units subsidized for low incomes. Half of the units will be geared to low- to moderate-income households.

Thirty per cent may be market rentals "for households with moderate incomes," defined as up to $104,000 for homes with two or more bedrooms.

"It is, I believe, not the perfect mix perhaps, but it's as close to the perfect mix as you can get," said Horgan.

The government says the projects will be prioritized based on how effective they would be in reducing the community's affordable rental housing crisis, with an emphasis on different types of housing.

"We're not hearing a clamouring for more one-bedroom condos in the sky," said Horgan.

"There's a clamouring for more family-appropriate housing in locations that make sense for families, and we're going to shape the program to that."

In the 2017 election, the NDP promised 114,000 new rental and co-op homes over 10 years.

With files from Justin McElroy

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