Kelowna trying to determine how best to spend $31.5M in federal housing funding

Where best to use $31.5M

City of Kelowna staff will soon begin trying to determine how best to spend $31.5 million in federal grant funding.

The Housing Accelerator Fund grant money will come to the city in four $7.875 million yearly instalments. The first instalment arrived when the contract with the federal government was signed with the rest coming April 1 of each subsequent year.

"The final instalment is in 2026-2027 and is contingent on the housing targets being met," grants and special projects co-ordinator Michelle Kam told council Monday.

In all, seven targets need to be met by the city in order to qualify for the final payment. These include:

  • Implementing the infill housing options program.
  • Adjusting regulations to incentivize private sector housing development.
  • Transit supportive corridor planning.
  • Affordable housing on city-owned land.
  • Establishing new housing partnerships and affordable housing delivery.
  • Investing in infrastructure to unlock housing.
  • Leveraging new technology to improve processing and data management

The city will also be required to to add 2,771 missing-middle housing units including duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes of low rise apartments, 4,180 multi-housing units that includes high rise apartments and other multi-unit housing and 479 other units which could include single-family homes without suites.

Of those, at least 416 must be affordable units.

"The incentive funding we receive can be used for prescribed uses only... an action plan to implement the initiative, investments in affordable housing such as land acquisition, investments in housing related infrastructure such as sewer and water and investments in community-related infrastructure that supports housing such as sidewalks, bridges and bike lanes," said Kam.

Exactly how the funding will be used hasn't been determined yet.

Kam says they have some preliminary ideas but once the project manager is "up to speed," they will do a deeper dive to see the best way to leverage the grant funding.

"Once we have a better handle on allocation council involvement will be paramount," added city manager Doug Gilchrist.

"I don't want council to think in any way or the public that the initiatives are not identified yet and it's just a slush fund. There are very specific funding requirements of the federal ministry that applied these funds.

"There is more specific details around each of those seven initiatives that we are still working on. But the seven initiatives are clear."

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