HOMEFINDER: Co-op housing an affordable option

B.C. and Canada-wide, co-op housing facing budget cuts

Since 1989, the Friendship Housing Co-operative in Sidney has provided affordable and market housing for a wide variety of people.

Located on Fifth Street, the Friendship Housing Co-Op is a collection of units ranging in size from two to four bedrooms. Fiona Jackson, communications director with the Co-operative Housing Foundation of B.C. says it’s one of 262 co-ops in the province and the 34 on Vancouver Island. Most of those, she continued, are located throughout Greater Victoria.

Most housing co-ops, explained Jackson, are occupied by a mixed population of people. Some are seniors, others are single parents and still more are adults. Some can afford to pay market rents and other cannot — so some of the units in each co-op similar to Friendship in Sidney are subsidized. This mix, she said, helped create a diverse community living in each complex.

As members of a housing co-op,  people get security of tenure, meaning they can stay as long as they pay their housing charge and follow the rules.

Residents are also expected to take part on the local board of directors, helping create a better sense of ownership. In the case of Friendship, it is a non-profit business, managed by its members.

Yet, said Jackson, the future of funding sources to ensure subsidized units, or more attainable housing, is up in the air as federal funding dries up.

“Housing co-ops used to be funded by the federal government, between 1970 and 1990, through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation,” Jackson explained. “Today, a lot of co-ops in B.C. and across Canada are coming to an end of those federal funding agreements.”

In Friendship’s case, Jackson said their funding agreement is not scheduled to run out until 2023. For others, those agreements are ending now and in the coming years.

“In B.C. between now and 2017, 1,500 co-op households face a crisis,” she said. “By 2020, it’ll be up to 3,000 in this province alone.”

Jackson said many of those households include the disabled, seniors, single parents and people on a fixed income. Losing rent subsidies could force some tough decisions.

The CHF BC, said Jackson, is running a campaign called You Hold The Key – Fix the Co-Op Housing Crunch. She said the organization has been talking to provincial cabinet ministers and other politicians, hoping to curb the loss of many of the subsidies. They are seeking a provincially-funded rent supplement program for low income co-op members.

“Having affordable rental housing is the key.”

To learn more about co-op housing in B.C. and the You Hold the Key campaign, go to www.chf.bc.ca.

 

editor@peninsulanewsreview.com

 

Just Posted

Meet the Greater Victoria athletes in Red Deer for the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Players express gratitude and excitement about representing Team BC

Unhealthy disagreement sees three First Nations chiefs take government to court

Claim and counter-claim: B.C.’s First Nations health department and administrator end up in court.

Victoria hotel trashes Channing Tatum in favour of B.C.’s Ryan Reynolds

Tatum’s picture left in recycling bin, replaced with photo of Ryan Reynolds

One arrested, weapons, and drugs seized in Sooke bust

During the Feb. 6 raid, police found firearms, ammunition, drugs, and brass knuckles

New tutorial ‘Whales in our Waters’ launched by BC Ferries

A new tutorial has been launched for mariners and the general public about whales in the Salish Sea

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Bomb threats, gunfire, kidnapping: Drug war rocks Kamloops

Kamloops RCMP battles a series of violent events

Island fossil makes it to the top of the provincial list

Courtenay’s elasmosaur will be added to the official Provincial Symbols of British Columbia

Vancouver Island boys high school basketball bragging rights on the line

Oak Bay, Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Victoria host Island championships this weekend

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Most Read