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Sooke’s largest affordable housing project takes flight

170 below-market homes offer relief in tight housing market
Kevin Albers, CEO of M’akola Group, was among dignitaries that officially opened the affordable housing project on Drennan Street in Sooke on Monday. The development consists of two five-storey buildings that include a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes, with 34 of those reserved for people with “very low” incomes. (Lindsey Horsting/Black Press Media)

What’s hailed as the largest affordable housing project in Sooke’s history officially opened its doors Monday morning (April 29).

Indigenous individuals and families living in Sooke will now have access to 170 below market homes at 2075 Drennan St.

“The availability of Indigenous affordable housing is crucial for the well-being of families and communities as it provides a sense of security and stability, which is essential for people and communities to thrive,” said Kevin Albers, chief executive officer for M’akola Housing at a press conference.

The development consists of two identical five-storey wood-frame buildings that include a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes, with 34 of those reserved for people with “very” low incomes that will be rented at the shelter rate of $500 a month.

Albers called the project a testament to the power of the partnerships and collaboration between the provincial government, B.C. Housing, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Capital Regional District, the District of Sooke, M’akola Housing Society and M’akola Development Services.

Langford-Juan de Fuca MLA Ravi Parmar said the completion of the project is another example of the provincial government’s commitment to address the need for more affordable housing while families struggle with the impact of inflation and rising interest rates.

“These 170 new homes for people represent the largest expansion of affordable housing in the District of Sooke’s history,” Parmar said. “By giving people affordable housing options in their communities, near their families and their culture, we’re creating a more inclusive, supportive place to live.”

Parmar and Albers spoke about the historical and cultural connections the T’Sou-ke Nation share with the property, and thanked the nation’s members for their support and assistance throughout the project.

In an interview with the Sooke News Mirror, Albers explained that the rise in interest rates was the sole reason the opening was delayed after construction was completed.

“The maximum rents stipulated for the housing program had been set, so that conflicted with what the mortgage payments would be,” he said. “That set us back a few months.”

The $57.9 million-project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, 78,000 new homes that have been delivered or are underway, including more than 275 affordable homes in Sooke.

ALSO READ: Completed affordable housing faces move-in delays in Sooke

About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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