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Rental housing projects get city funding

Two affordable housing projects providing 82 purpose built rental housing units within the city will get the funding it needs.

The Pleasantvale housing project the Care Support Society project, which is part of Central Green, will share in the $320,000 available through the city's rental housing grants program.

The grants are designed to make it more attractive to developers to construct rental housing units by helping to offset Development Cost Charges (DCC's).

DCC's are the monies typically paid by developers on a per unit basis for additional or upgraded infrastructure needs pertaining to a specific project.

Through the city's rental housing grant program developers of affordable housing and non-profit housing projects are able to apply for funds totalling up to $5,000 per unit being constructed.

"We have all recognized that rental housing is in tight supply across the country due to the economics of building this form of housing," says Long Range Planning Manager, Gary Stephen.

"A few years ago there was more inventory available in Kelowna due to unsold condominiums but that has since disappeared. According to the fall 2013 CMHC rental market report the vacancy rate in Kelowna has dropped from 4 per cent to 1.8 per cent which means there will likely be fewer units available and monthly rental rates are likely to go up."

As part of the application, Stephen says a housing agreement is required to secure the rental units for a minimum of 10 years.

"There is also a revitalization tax exemption program that may provide short term assistance to increase the supply of purpose built rental housing."

The two qualifying projects will add 82 rental units to the city's rental pool, meaning each unit qualified for a grant of approximately $3,900.

"here are 70 units in the Pleasantvale project at Cambridge and Richter streets which would be eligible for a grant total in the amount of $273,171," says Stephens.

"There are 12 units in the Care Support Society project on Rowcliffe Avenue which is part of Central Green, which would be eligible for a grant of $46,829."

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