Massive Legion-led housing project in Surrey, B.C., gains provincial backing for 91 affordable units

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A unique housing project in Surrey, B.C., to support veterans and first responders got a boost from the provincial government Wednesday.

The province is putting forward funds to support 91 affordable housing units for veterans with disabilities in the Legion Veterans Village, as well as a rehab centre for veterans.

"It means a tremendous amount," says Tony Moore, the president of the Whalley Legion Branch 229.

The Whalley Legion is one of the main partners in the Legion Veterans Village, a development that will include nearly 500 units of market housing, health-care supports including a PTSD and brain injury clinic, and Legion facilities.

The affordable housing units, said Moore, will address a dire need in the community.

"We have lots of veterans out there that are on the street and other places that need accommodation and a place to live," he said.

Being located in Whalley makes it even more pertinent, he says.

"We were known as the Legion on Skid Row for a while because we had 135a [Street] behind us," he said.

"We felt there was a need for it. And by God, we were working at it and we're going to get there."

The ambitious project, with an estimated price tage of $312 million, is one of the first of its kind in Canada for a legion. It's something that doesn't faze Moore — too much.

"I worry about it every night when I go to bed. But, you know, we've had so many inquiries from across Canada," he said. "I hope by everything that's good that we can get more Legion Veterans Villages built across Canada."

Construction of the development is already underway. Moore is hoping the development will open on November 11, 2022.