The Kaslo Housing Society and Housing Coordinator Kevin Flaherty are working on several innovative projects and ideas to help alleviate the housing crisis in our community.
This year’s KHS Annual General meeting is scheduled for March 11, and we are planning a separate public meeting in early May. The purpose of the May meeting will be to familiarize community members with the programs we are working on and to show some plans for an affordable housing project for the property we still refer to as “Lovers”, a 0.8-acre parcel of Village land behind the public works yard. In the fall of 2018, the society signed a 99-year lease for this parcel of land with the Village.
Our proposal for this land will directly respond to the criteria of the most recent BC Housing request for proposals. To accommodate community needs, the units will benefit single persons and families of varying ages, sizes and levels of income. We have engaged a surveyor and an architectural firm to work on site capacity and early design and are thankful to CBT for their support for this aspect of the pre-development work.
We are, however, facing serious and expensive site development issues, in particular the access (roadway) and water hookup. The adjacent Village owned land is encumbered with the same development challenges; when we solve the access for Lovers, neighbouring lands will benefit. The KHS board believes that the development of the Lovers piece belongs in this larger context. We are very interested in working with the village and its residents to develop a community-supported vision for that larger parcel of municipal land.
Our Housing Coordinator for Kaslo and Area D, Kevin Flaherty, is also actively pursuing an adaptation of a Whitehorse-based program that seeks to provide reliable and sustainable housing for those most in need of shelter in our community. The program is called Landlords Working to End Homelessness (LWEH). It provides supportive housing to persons who may be hard to house due to a poor housing record, poverty, stigmatizing health conditions, addictions or mental health challenges.
The LWEH program allows KHS to support persons in need without having to own buildings. The way it works is that KHS leases an adequate unit from a landlord for at least one year, during which KHS assumes responsibility for timely rent payment and repair of damages caused by the tenant or guests of the tenant. Any person selected to receive housing through the LWEH program must participate in receiving support services and case management.
A third avenue that Kevin Flaherty is exploring is in response to an emerging trend. We are being told by seniors who own property that they feel forced to sell their homes and leave Kaslo in order to be able to pay for more appropriate accommodation. For many of these persons their modest home is their only financial asset.
Kaslo Housing Society is in discussions with the community and with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to create an innovative program that will allow seniors to stay in their Kaslo and Area homes while adding additional dwelling units (such as a laneway home or alterations to the existing home) to their property. The program has three key elements:
1. Renovating or otherwise altering existing senior-occupied homes to make them more suitable for Aging in Place.
2. Constructing additional accommodation on their property. In some circumstances it might be more desirable and affordable for the senior homeowner to move into the newly constructed, smaller, efficient, more accessible accessory dwelling and rent the existing home to a family or several single tenants.
3. Leveraging the existing property to ensure that these changes are created and kept affordable for future generations.
If you have questions about these initiatives call 250-353-8868, email email@example.com or come to the KHS AGM on Monday, March 11, 7pm at the Kaslo Seniors Hall. If you’d like to work with us, please consider becoming a director of the society. We are especially looking for skill sets and backgrounds in construction, site development and online media.