Housing agency aims to address rental squeeze in Merritt, B.C.

Dated: January 14 2019

Views: 106

Housing agency aims to address rental squeeze in Merritt, B.C.

Housing would provide 76 affordable units

Anheart Housing Community is applying to bring affordable housing to Merritt, B.C. (Emerald Plants Health Source/Facebook)

While large metropolitan areas such as Greater Vancouver often steal the spotlight as the epicentre of the province's affordable housing crisis, it's not an issue confined by municipal boundaries.

In fact, in 2017, the city of Merritt, B.C., about three hours east of Vancouver, had a vacancy rate of 2.2 per cent, lower than the national 2.4 average, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). 

The municipality's need for affordable housing caught the attention of the Anhart Housing Community, non-profit society committed to preventing homelessness, which intends to build two buildings with enough space for 76 units in the heart of the Merritt.

If its development permit is approved, Anhart expects the property to be open for rentals within two years.

Anhart project manager Larissa Muir says getting people housed is crucial because it can provide a broader impact on the local community.

"When people are housed they feel safe, they feel secure," said Muir.

"That then has a considerable impact on people's mental and physical health that can then trickle down into economic impacts in the community." 

Although it's now branching out into smaller Canadian towns, Anhart began its first housing operations on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside securing low-income rental units for those at risk of homelessness.

In Merritt, to determine whether there was a need for affordable housing, the organization conducted a survey of 400 people.

Muir notes that almost 50 per cent of respondents expressed complete dissatisfaction with their current accommodations. She says respondents complained of living in old, rundown rentals.

"It's the aging rental stock that hasn't been maintained," said Muir to Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.

She says the survey showed that both the senior and student population have had difficulty finding housing they can afford and which also meets certain requirements, such as accessibility.

Once completed, the housing to be built by Anhart, would be targeted at renters with an annual income below $40,000.

The organization has applied for financing through the CMHC to develop a 1.6 hectare property at 3757 De Wolf way, Merritt B.C.

Muir says the team has already had meetings with both the current and the previous mayor, as well as a number of other stakeholders.

Next, Anhart will apply for a development permit and present its plans to city council.

Blog author image

Steven Axford

Steve is a award winning Realtor in Victoria BC, with his listings selling faster and for top dollar! Growing up in Victoria, BC and has always been active in his community. Steve is a Victoria Cougar....

Latest Blog Posts

Adapting Your Finances

The latest news has been focused on rising interest rates, surging inflation, and economic uncertainty with suggestions that the Canadian economy could be tripped into recession.With all this

Read More

Asking price matters

There’s no doubt about the fact that the housing market is slowing from the frenzy we saw over the past two years. But what does that mean for you if you’re thinking of selling

Read More

New Home Warranties in Strata Corporations

The BC Home Owner Protection Act requires that all newly built homes (including strata properties) or buildings that have been substantially reconstructed be covered by third-party

Read More

Shift in Victoria Real Estate market brings more time for buyers and sellers

A total of 510 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this July, 38.9 per cent fewer than the 835 properties sold in July 2021 and a 16.7 per cent decrease from June 2022. Sales of

Read More