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Province promises 500 new homes for Kamloops over two years

BC Minister for Housing Ravi Kahlon announced multiple new projects for Kamloops on June 24, 2024.

Over the next two years, 500 provincially-supported homes will be built in Kamloops.

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon stood in front of a soon-to-be-demolished government building in downtown Kamloops as he announced plans for affordable housing, shelter space and supportive housing on properties across the city.

Two-hundred of the homes will be built on the Columbia Precinct, where several provincially-owned properties border downtown south of Columbia Street.

"For too long, government-owned lands were seen as something you sell off so you can try to balance a budget," Kahlon said. "What we're saying is these lands need to provide public value and they need to stay in public hands. We're not selling any of these lands."

Through the BC Builds initiative, developers will submit proposals for the properties at 515 and 527 Columbia Street. Once open, they'll be managed by a non-profit, but they will remain a provincial government asset.

“This transformational announcement for our community has been made possible through advocacy and partnership,” councillor and deputy mayor for the month Katie Neustaeter said. “Unified in purpose, our city and the province are forging pathways of progress; proving that together, we build futures filled with vision, warmth and a safe place to call home.”

Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson was present for the event, but he did not speak as council stripped him of his role as an official city spokesperson.

Kahlon also praised city council's persistent advocacy to get provincial funding toward housing in Kamloops.

"This council has been fantastic. I've had the opportunity to meet with a lot of mayors and councils — never have I met council who's been so sure of what they want for their community," he said at a council meeting today.

Along with the Columbia Street buildings. Kahlon announced a 98-unit modular housing project through BC Housing heading to the Mission Flats area.

It's one of a few local non-profits getting provincial funding.

Canadian Mental Health Association will be opening a 60-bed facility for seniors and people with disabilities at 604 Lorne Street called Marquee. Connective Support Society Kamloops, meanwhile, will be opening a 20-home building at 210 Oak Road for seniors and families.

Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society will also be opening a new facility, this one for women and children fleeing violence. Its location is being kept confidential in order to ensure privacy and safety.

Another project, near the Columbia Precinct, will be a 40-bed shelter at 1055 Glenfair Drive. It will be different from the city's other shelters because it's specifically aimed at homeless seniors.

"Folks who have worked their entire lives are now finding themselves in challenging situations and we need to be able to catch them because that's what they did before for other people," Kahlon said. "It's a trend we're seeing across North America. When you have a limited housing stock, those with means have access to it and those who don't continue to get pushed down."

The housing projects will be built between 18 months and two years.

In the coming months, there'll be more details for 100 temporary housing units aimed a homeless people living in camps, coming from the same provincial funding source as Kelowna's tiny house program.

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