Partnership brings affordable housing project a step closer

An artist’s rendering of a future affordable housing project in Richmond’s City Centre. - City of Richmond photo
An artist’s rendering of a future affordable housing project in Richmond’s City Centre.
— image credit: City of Richmond photo

Six non-profit groups have come together to fund the construction and management of Storeys, a 129-unit affordable housing complex to be built on the former site of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant near Richmond City Hall.

The consortium, comprising Atira Women’s Resource Society, Coast Mental Health, Pathways Clubhouse CMHA, SUCCESS, Tikva Housing Society and Turning Point Housing Society, will oversee the project’s development, with their capital fundraising efforts aimed at also providing programmed amenity space and other supports for a variety of individuals and families at risk of homelessness.

De Whalen, chair of the Richmond Poverty Response Committee, applauded the effort to build the facility.

“All of these groups did need a place to house their clients,” she said, adding that she likes the idea of these groups coming to together to make a real dent in the homelessness challenge in Richmond, rather than doing it piecemeal on their own.

Whalen was also pleased to learn that Richmond council has opted against taking cash in lieu of a developer’s promise to build affordable housing near the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Intracorp, the developers of River Park Place, had proposed to donate $4.6 million instead of building a 29-unit standalone building consisting of low-end market rental homes, a proposal that was backed by city staff.

Whalen was critical of the proposal, but is happy at the outcome.

“We need to build complete neighbourhoods,” Whalen said. “If you take out affordable housing from an elite neighbourhood, you’re left with elites. I’m glad to see they’re going to preserve the affordable housing numbers at the oval.”

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said this project is a sign that Richmond wants to tackle the affordable housing issue.

“Affordable housing is a priority for the City of Richmond,” he said.

The complex’s name “alludes to both the architectural design of the building as well as the distinct and diverse backgrounds and stories of the people who will call the building home,” the city noted in a press release.

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