A new housing development given the go-ahead by Victoria City Council could be welcome news for area residents struggling to make ends meet.
Council recently approved plans from the Capital Region Housing Corporation (CHRC) to build 158 new units of affordable rental housing that will replace an existing 18-unit townhouse complex currently located at 1211 Gladstone Ave., near Victoria High School.
All of the units, which will range from studios to four-bedroom homes, will be priced below market value.
"You don't even see four bedrooms lately, or three bedrooms ... [these] are extremely valuable for families needing affordability," said Coun. Sharmarke Dubow, speaking to CBC's On The Island host Gregor Craigie about the project.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) defines housing as affordable when a household spends less than 30 per cent of its gross income on acceptable shelter.
Half of the units will be priced according to the income of the new tenants and under the CMHC's 30 per cent threshold.
Thirty per cent of the units will be rented to moderate-income families at below-market levels and the other 20 per cent will be solely for people on income assistance and will be offered at subsidized rents.
Fifteen units will accessible for people with wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
"We need to address housing in a more respectful, sensitive way, which this project is doing," said Dubow.
In the City of Victoria, 61 per cent of the population are renters. The median household income of renters is $44,165, meaning an affordable level would allow around $1,100 per month to be spent on housing costs.
According to the CHRC, residents in the existing townhouse complex pay an average of $1,122 per month.
The corporation says that building has needed increasingly complicated repairs and maintenance and should be replaced. People living in the townhouse have been rehoused and CHRC says they will be given the right of first refusal to move back in when the new development is ready.
The current complex sits on 0.84 acres of land owned by School District 61 that is leased to the CHRC. An adjacent 1.3 acres of land that is not being used, between Grant Street and Gladstone Avenue, will be parcelled together and used for the new development.
The project was approved following a public hearing on Oct. 28.
The plan now is to demolish the existing building next year and have the new units ready by fall 2024.