City of Terrace ready to assist affordable housing
Terrace council has revealed a new bylaw aimed at relieving the shortage of affordable housing in Terrace.
The Affordable Housing Fund Bylaw lays out a framework for accumulating money in an account specifically allotted for projects that respond to Terrace's affordable housing needs.
Several studies conducted by the city have identified a shortage in affordable housing, specifically rental units for individuals and families.
The new bylaw outlines a policy that will allow groups to apply for various kinds of assistance directly from the city.
The policy passed first and second readings at the Aug. 25 council meeting and will be back on the agenda in a more finalized form at the Sept. 8 meeting.
“Since the initial Terrace Housing Needs Assessment was completed in 2008, a consistently recommended action has been to consider establishing, and funding, an affordable housing reserve fund,” states the recommendation presented to council by city officials.
The fund is being put in place to follow through of goals outlined in the official community plan to “explore partnerships to provide supportive housing units to meet community need,” and “support non-profit societies in providing new affordable housing and rehabilitating existing housing.”
Uses of the money contained in the account are to acquire land, purchase existing buildings, cover the cost of fees and charges for development permits and provision of services like water and sewage, and for direct monetary contributions to projects.
Individuals or groups who plant to build affordable housing will be able to apply for financial assistance to the city.
The bylaw outlines how groups will be able to qualify for their partnerships, based on the history of the operations, fit with the community, location, and various other requirements.
Mayor Dave Pernarowski said money for the account will come from any number of transactions.
“An example would be for the land we sold at the property on Kenney St. We sold it for well over the appraised value, so that's an opportunity for us to move funds into that particular reserve,” he said.
A Calgary-based housing developer called Coast to Coast paid the city $951,000 for the property at the corner of Kenney and Park.
“It's flexible enough that we could always say, let's move this money, whatever that happens to be, into this fund,” said Pernarowski.
According to chief administrative officer Heather Avison there are various ways that money could be put into the account.
“The intention of the bylaw is to be there if sometimes there is ... additional revenue that comes in from the sale of other land,” she said, adding that, “we have all kinds of ways council can decide to put money into there.”