HOUSING CRISIS: BC expands secondary suite loan program to Kamloops, Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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HOUSING CRISIS: BC expands secondary suite loan program to Kamloops, Okanagan

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BC’s secondary suite program is expanding and the Thompson-Okanagan region could see more affordable housing options as a result.

Eligibility for the upcoming Secondary Suite Incentive Program is expanding to 16 regional districts in the province, including the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan and Thompson-Nicola, according to a Ministry of Housing media release issued today, Jan. 30. Those regional districts include Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops and Merritt.

The project aims to support the delivery of 1,000 affordable rental units a year for three years. It will do this by giving close to 3,000 homeowners “forgivable” loans up to $40,000 to build a secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit on their property. To qualify for the loan, the unit must be rented at below market rates for at least five years.

"We're expanding the secondary suite program as part of our Homes for People action plan to support the supply of affordable long-term rentals in even more areas of the province so more people can access below-market housing in urban and rural areas alike," Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon said in the release.

According to BC Assessment data from 2022, there are close to 228,700 units that could be rented out as secondary suites in British Columbia, the ministry said. The Secondary Suite program pilot was introduced in September of last year and is set to launch in April 2024, as an attempt to remedy this issue. 


"The housing crisis affects all corners of the province. Giving people more options and support is important, and the addition of below-market rental suites and accessory units will help rural people, and communities, everywhere," Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development Roly Russell said in the release.

The 16 chosen regional districts have the necessary building bylaws, permits and inspection services in their electoral areas to make them eligible for the program, the ministry said. After two to three years the province will review whether it can add additional regional districts.

The province has provided guidance for eligible homeowners in the form of a comprehensive Home Suite Home guide and a standardized housing design plan to help streamline the permitting process.

More information about the Secondary Suite Incentive Program can be found here.

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