Two new developments promise to bring 72 new housing units for low-income and vulnerable residents in Victoria.
Victoria council approved the developments at 330 Michigan Street in the James Bay neighbourhood and 736 Princess Avenue in the Burnside Gorge neighbourhood during its Oct. 22 meeting.
The Princess Avenue development looks to provide short and long-term solutions to the ongoing housing crisis by providing both housing units and commercial and community services.
“This project is more than simply supportive housing. It brings job readiness and life skills training, counselling and supportive housing under one roof to enable clients to become contributing members to their community,” said Manj Toor, executive director of the John Howard Society, in an Oct. 23 statement. The John Howard Society will own and run the project.
The development will include 28 housing units, a ground floor coffee shop and art gallery, and commercial and community services. They hope to break ground in summer 2021 and have people moving in by late 2022, according to a spokesperson for the John Howard Society.
“This is another important step forward to providing people options for a roof over their head and a safe secure place to call home,” Mayor Lisa Helps said.
At 330 Michigan Street, the Capital Regional Housing Corporation (CRHC) will be redeveloping its affordable housing complex to allow for 44 more units, for a total of 106.
It means demolishing three of the current four residential buildings and replacing them with two new four-storey, multi-family buildings. The CRHC is aiming to start work in late spring 2021 and finish in spring or summer of 2023, according to communication coordinator Jamie Gripich.
“With this decision, more seniors, families, those in need of provincial assistance and those with a range of abilities will be able to find the stable, secure and quality housing they desperately need,” said View Royal Mayor David Screech, who serves as vice-chair of the CRHC Board.
Victoria council also adopted new housing conversion regulations, making it easier to convert houses into multiple units.
While, previously, houses had to be constructed prior to 1931 – or in some cases, 1969 – to be considered for conversion, the changes have now moved that date to 1984.
Other approved changes relax bylaw restrictions around parking in the front yard, making exterior changes to the building and allowing for windows and doors at the street front.
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