A Salmon Arm affordable housing project, which has been about four years in the making, is nearing completion.
Construction of Larch Place, the first of three buildings at 540 Third St. SW, began in the summer of 2019, with preparations beginning about two years prior. With 32 units for individuals, seniors and families with low to moderate incomes, it opened in February 2021.
On June 1, 2021, the 35-unit second building, Birch Place, opened to families, seniors and other individuals with low to moderate incomes. Birch allows pets while Larch doesn’t.
Providing an update, Dawn Dunlop, executive director with the Canadian Mental Housing Association, Shuswap-Revelstoke, which partnered with BC Housing on the project, said the units are all but full.
She said a couple of places are temporarily empty, likely because people must give notice for their existing accommodation. She added that all but one person in the two buildings lived in the community beforehand.
An example of why a person might not be from the community would be a woman fleeing domestic abuse, she said. They might not be able to return to their home community but could have family in this area, she explained.
The third building, Cedar Place, with 38 supportive units for people who are without permanent housing, is expected to open in late fall, either late October or early November. She said the process to select residents is beginning. People must fill out a supportive housing application, then support agencies will confer and an interview with the applicant will be held.
Because there is such a variety of housing in the buildings both in terms of tenants and the size of units, applying for the housing can be complicated, she said. An applicant might say they have put in five applications for housing, while they may only qualify for two types of units.
“We understand how confusing it is, especially when you open a new building,” Dunlop said.
She suggested that anyone with problems filling out housing applications should call CMHA in Salmon Arm at 250-832-8477 and inquire about housing.
She said while the first two buildings are essentially full, people should still apply as CMHA oversees other buildings. The association’s stock will expand to about 250 units once the third building is complete.
She also notes applications with BC Housing are only valid for six months, so people should contact BC Housing, bchousing.org, or call 1-800-257-7756 to update their application before it expires. Once again, CMHA can be contacted for help.
Dunlop also wants people to know that CMHA, which runs the 105-unit site, will be hiring about 12 to 15 people to operate Cedar Place.