Evergreen Acres Seniors Housing Society (EASHS) has received the announcement for provincial funding, which staff at the facility has been anticipating so it can move ahead with the facility’s expansion.
The announcement came last week and both Pearl McAloney, chair of EASHS, and Kate Cullinane, manager for the society, said they were watching the live-stream of the press conference with bated breath.
“We were all kind of giddy,” said Cullinane.
“(After the expansion) we can house a minimum of 24 more seniors, with 16 one bedroom (units) and four two-bedroom (units) that will be leased out to couples.”
All of the units will be single story structures with ground floor entry.
Documents previously provided by the District of Clearwater (DOC) showed a strong need for more seniors housing facilities in the North Thompson, which came from a study done from McBride to Mclure, looking at several different aspects of seniors living within the area.
EASHS had been approved for grant funding of $1,050,000 from the Wells Gray Community Forest Society and roughly $80,000 from the DOC for in-kind donations for development fees.
The group is also looking at a $1 million mortgage on the $4 million project, and with this $2 million grant from the government, everything is now in order financially.
Though there’s no solid start date yet, McAloney said EASHS is hoping to get shovels in the ground by spring or early summer and is now moving toward getting the blueprints drawn up.
The funding comes from an initiative by the B.C. government, which is putting a total of 4,900 affordable renting homes in 42 communities across the province.
“Years of inaction on the B.C. housing crisis left families struggling to get by and unable to get ahead,” said Premier John Horgan in a press release.
“These new, affordable rental homes are an important step toward addressing the housing crisis and giving families in every part of the province a break from skyrocketing housing costs.”
The release went on to say the Province’s new Building BC: Community Housing Fund, a $1.9-billion investment over 10 years, will build more than 14,000 affordable rental homes for seniors, families and low- and middle-income earners, with many to include child care.
These initial 4,900 homes, which includes the Evergreen Acres expansion, are the first set of projects selected through this fund, and will include both non-profits and co-ops, to be built over the next two to three years.
McAloney said if it wasn’t for the Clearwater community, EASHS may not have been in the ideal position to be selected for the grant, and she’d like to offer her thanks to everyone who contributed.
“All the community support, from the loggers logging the property, to all of the donations—the whole nine yards—that’s what made us project-ready.”