Safe, secure homes for women and children & a community hub - all under one roof

 
 
 

Our plan

 

We will build 34 units of multi-generational affordable housing for single women, women with children, female youth aging out of care, and senior women. Studio, 1-2-3 bedroom units will provide affordable housing and a place to call home. In addition to the 4-storey housing component, which will help address the growing affordable housing crisis on the coast, the purpose-built redevelopment accommodates crisis response, support and prevention programs. These resources will be accessible to all Sunshine Coast community members and will play a critical role in the health and wellbeing of our entire community. 

The bottom two storeys will also provide a range of spaces tailored to the needs of community support programs, community gardens, pedestrian walkways and outdoor gathering spaces. Food security will be a strong focus with community gardens and the commercial kitchen, creating a hub where community members in need can access programs and services in spaces tailored to the needs of the support programs.  

With our thoughtful design and community-centric approach, we will revitalize the neighbourhood at the end of Inlet Avenue into a safe and welcoming space for all. Built on land we own in downtown Sechelt, our thoughtful design and community approach will revitalize our neighbourhood into a safe and welcoming area for all. 

FAQs

Q. When will this project be finished?

  • Construction: Start late fall 2023
  • Estimated completion date: Spring/summer 2025

Q. How much will the project cost?

The project is budgeted at approximately $34 million. We have secured 84% of the funding:

  • $25 million - BC Housing investment
  • $1.429 million - SCCSS contribution
  • $864,000 - Community contribution
  • $600,000 - Corporate sponsorships
  • $527,000 - Grants

We still need to secure $5.6 million (16%) of the funding:

  • $3 million - Pending federal infrastructure grant
  • $2.6 million - Funds still to be raised.

Q. Has cost overrun been considered for the project?

M'AKOLA Development Services is an indigenous-based housing and community planning and development consulting firm. With over 30 years of experience in planning, developing, and operating multi-family housing projects, they are committed to building affordable and sustainable vibrant and diverse communities from concept to community.

M'AKOLA has extensive experience in managing projects of this scale and have applied strenuous feasibility analysis to costing the project.

Q. What benefits will this development provide to community members living along the Coast?

  • 34 units of affordable housing for women
  • A redeveloped Community Services space that is purpose built and better able to accommodate our programs and continue to meet current and emerging community needs
  • Increased ability to use food to build health and community through the incorporation of a Community Food initiative that will include community gardens, food bank services and offer increased food programming that will bring people together to grow, share and advocate for good food.
  • Increased safety and security of the neighbourhood through thoughtful design that will increase lighting, improve the pedestrian walkway, increase organized activities and build connections between neighbours.
  • Flexible community meeting spaces.

Q. Who are the people that will live in the residences?

The proposed development will embrace a mix of women including single women, women and children, single women who are older, and young women who are aging out of care; creating a community of women and families who have similar life experiences such as struggles with homelessness, poverty and experiences of violence/abuse. Priority will be given to women who currently live on the Sunshine Coast and who are homeless (e.g. living in a transition house) or precariously housed (e.g. paying more rent than they can afford, living in a small or poorly maintained basement suite, etc.) and to women who were forced to leave the Sunshine Coast in search of safe, affordable housing, but who may still have family and support networks on the Coast.

Q. Why is the housing only for women?

Study after study shows that safe, affordable and appropriate housing plays a central role in allowing women and families who are marginalized to re-establish their lives. Stable housing is, in fact, the foundation for positive change in the lives of women and their children. It reduces levels of stress and can change the perspectives of women by providing them the opportunity to empower themselves and therefore generate a positive, healthy and nurturing environment for their children. Housing at our Inlet site will provide a safe, welcoming, affordable home for women and children, a home from which hope and possibility can flow.

We recognize that access to affordable housing on the Coast is an issue for many people. We are focusing on the provision of safe affordable and dignified housing for single women and women and children because we have the experience, relationships and expertise required to provide the best possible housing experience for this population. We understand the unique challenges faced by women and we feel we are best positioned to address these challenges.

Q. How much rent will people pay?

This has not been finalized but our goal is to base rents on the following:

  • One third of the rents will be targeted at maximum shelter allowance for women and families in receipt of income assistance
  • One third of the rents will be targeted according to Housing Income Limits (HILs), a rent that is established based on 30% of gross annual household income.
  • One third of the rents will be targeted at low end of market rents, which will be established towards the completion of the project. Low end of market rents will likely be between 10 and 20% below local-area market rents.

Q. How many units will be provided?

34 units of affordable women’s housing will be developed including studio, one, two and three bedroom units.

Q. How can I apply for housing

Details for how to apply will be available on our website 12 months before occupancy. Currently we expect that information to be available in early 2024. You can subscribe to our newsletter to keep informed about the progress of the building, and we’ll also share this information on social media once details are finalised.

Q. How will this project be funded?

BC Housing has selected us to build and operate the 34 affordable housing units that will occupy the top four floors of the new 6-storey building on our current site at 5638 Inlet Avenue, Sechelt; a total investment of $16 million.

To make this project a reality, Sunshine Coast Community Services has committed to raising $7 million to ensure that all Sunshine Coast residents can access the many programs and services in the new purpose-built space. The breakdown is as follows:

CORPORATE SPONSORSHIPS: $4 million

Grants and corporate sponsorships will assist in building the first two floors of a Community Services hub that will be purpose-built to accommodate all our programs to meet current and emerging community needs.

COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION: $3 million

We offer 30+ programs across the Sunshine Coast and will require the generous support of donors to help us build the hub, ensuring everyone in our community can connect to support and services.

Q. What will happen to the Food Bank?

Our Community Services Centre will be a facility that incorporates a number of food security initiatives into a Community Food Centre program that will provide traditional food bank services, space to cook, grow and eat food together.

Q. What will the rent application process look like?

Prospective tenants will be vetted through a typical tenanting process. Tenants will be required to sign a standard residential tenancy agreement. As this will be long-term housing, tenants will typically enter into a one-year lease, after which tenancies will revert to month-to-month.

Q. What will happen to programming at the Inlet site during construction?

All of our programs will continue to provide services to the Sunshine Coast. Some programs will be relocated to our other sites in Sechelt and Gibsons.  We will rent additional space in Sechelt if needed. Many of our programs are provided through outreach – in homes, in other organizations and at events.  We do not anticipate any significant impact on our services.

Q. What is your consultation process?

Over the past two years, Community Services has been involved in a number of conversations with the community regarding affordable housing. We have conducted a study on homelessness faced by women over the age of 50, met with representatives from municipal and provincial governments and sat on a number of forums discussing housing affordability and poverty on the Sunshine Coast. During our Strategic Planning process we invited community members to provide input on Community Services long-term plan.  Affordable housing came up as a key issue facing the community and Community Services was identified as a local organization who should play a role in addressing this issue.

Q. How can I support this this initiative?

  • Stay informed: sign up for SCCSS E-news
  • And of course, donate! For more information, contact buildingtogether@sccss.ca.

 

Q. How does this fit in with Sechelt’s Official Community Plan (OCP)?

The OCP describes the vision for the community as well as the objectives and policies regarding land use, environment, housing, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, waterfront, parks and open spaces, and community services and social well- being. Our proposed redevelopment is aligned with the OCP as it supports a number of the priorities and guiding principles outlined including:

  • Provide a Range of Housing Opportunities - Sechelt supports the development of diverse housing types to increase affordability, and to meet the needs of the changing demographics in the community.
  • Compact Development – Sechelt seeks to limit sprawl and will support approaches to development, including redevelopment, renewal and adaptive reuse, that will create a more compact and well- designed community.
  • Diverse Age Groups - Sechelt will recognize and support all age groups in the community, particularly initiatives to retain youth in the community and become an intergenerational community with a balanced age profile.
  • Caring and Accessible Community - Sechelt will be an accessible and inclusive community that provides opportunities for residents of all ages and abilities.