Construction underway for 39-unit affordable housing complex

An affordable housing complex for Indigenous Peoples in Cranbrook is officially underway, as a 39-unit building broke ground in September in a partnership between Aqanttanam Housing Society and the City of Cranbrook and the Province.

Known as the Chief Anges McCoy Centre, the building will be a mix of below-market rent and low-cost homes for Indigenous families, Elders, seniors and individuals. It will include one, two, and three-bedroom units, as part of a three-storey structure at 619 Sixth St. NW.

The Aqanttanam Housing Society provided the land for the project, and will own and operate the building. Additional funding includes a $7.8 million contribution from the provincial government’s Indigenous Housing Fund and an annual operating subsidy of roughly $24,000.

READ: Funding to boost local affordable housing project

The Columbia Basin Trust also contributed a $454,200 grant to the project.

“Aqanttanam Housing Society would like to thank the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the City of Cranbrook and Columbia Basin Trust for its support through the Indigenous Housing Fund for assisting in the development of 39 new homes for affordable housing,” said Austin Parisien, executive director, Aqanttanam Housing Society.

“There is a serious shortfall of clean, safe and affordable housing in the City of Cranbrook. This new building will make a difference for many, but will not solve the growing problem in our city. This project will satisfy only 25% of those on our waiting list who are in desperate need of housing.

“We plan to continue our quest to house all those in need of affordable housing for Indigenous families, seniors and individuals in Cranbrook, and look forward to the second call for proposals under the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund in the spring of 2020.”

Construction is expected to be completed by the fall of 2020.

“Many Indigenous people don’t have access to the affordable housing they need,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Reconciliation means continuing to work in partnership with Indigenous leaders, Indigenous housing providers and First Nations to build much-needed new, affordable homes like these for Indigenous peoples across B.C.”

Monthly rents are projected to be $554 for 24 one-bedroom units, $660 for 12 two-bedroom units and $821 for three three-bedroom units. Applications for any of those units can be made through BC Housing’s housing registry.

“This is a great project serving a huge need in our community,” said Lee Pratt, the Mayor of Cranbrook. “Our vacancy rate has been at a critical stage for some time and this will help alleviate some of that. Affordable housing is an issue throughout the province, and the City of Cranbrook is thankful the Aqanttanam Housing Society recognized this and was chosen to receive support. We are also very thankful to Columbia Basin Trust for its support.”

Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust, lauded the project.

“Non-profits work hard to build affordable housing that basin communities need, often with limited staff and resources. The trust has partnered with the Aqanttanam Housing Society throughout the project from concept to construction funding,” Strilaeff said. “An incredible amount of effort has already gone into this project with construction about to begin. These affordable housing units will be a significant addition to Cranbrook as we continue supporting healthy and resilient communities.”

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