‘It should ease the hopelessness on the waiting list’
A non-profit housing organization hopes to break ground this spring on the largest affordable housing project it’s ever done.
“It should ease the hopelessness on the waiting list,” said Bill Campbell, president of Kings Square Affordable Housing Corporation.
Campbell says his non-profit housing group hopes to construct a $7-million building with at least 50 units — a mixture of one and two bedroom apartments for seniors and another 20-25 larger units for family housing. He said at least 10 per cent would be designated accessible units for people with disabilities.
Campbell said rents would be a combination of “geared to income” and affordable. Geared to income means people pay 25 per cent of their income for rent. Affordable is defined as much lower than current rents in the city. He hopes a 3-bedroom unit would rent for around $900 per month.
“I feel really good about it, I’m all excited,” Campbell said.
Seed money approved from CMHC
The group has just received a $40,000 grant of seed money from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Campbell said that money will go toward planning — “hire architects, try and purchase the land, get our ducks in a row, get all the legal aspects of it done.”
The group has not pinpointed the exact location, but said it will be within Charlottetown city limits.
Campbell said they also have a private investor willing to invest close to $1 million.
Hope for provincial funds
The province has received federal funds to go toward affordable housing. The Kings Square Group hopes to tap into those funds, too. The province is expected to issue a request for proposals in February. Last year, officials said they wanted to build 50 new senior housing units across the Island in the near future.
“We’re looking forward to an RFP request to build,” Campbell said. “We’ll see how our dreams can fit into that.”
The Kings Square Affordable Housing Corporation has a waiting list of about 200 people. Last year, the province also said it had hundreds of people waiting for affordable seniors housing and family housing.
Tight rental market
The over Charlottetown rental market is tight. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation recently reported a vacancy rate of just 0.9 per cent.
“We’re on the front lines, we see it, we have to talk to the people who are looking for the housing,” Campbell said.
“They are not just a statistic with us, they are real people, they have real need.”