City closer to knowing housing needs

The City of Grand Forks is moving closer to finding out the housing needs for lower-income families and individuals in the community.

The City of Grand Forks is moving closer to finding out the housing needs for lower-income families and individuals in the community.

Council voted unanimously on Nov. 9 at its regular meeting to endorse the Preliminary Needs Assessment Report, which was undertaken by the Transitional Housing Project Steering Committee (THPSC), and direct the THPSC to proceed to the next steps in formalizing a business plan and approaching senior government for funding assistance. The THPSC is a committee formed by council to provide assistance and recommendations to council regarding steps necessary to facilitate the development of transition housing in the community.

Staff recommended council endorse the report so that it can be used as an element to enable BC Housing and/or Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to provide the necessary support and assistance for a potential project.

The key housing elements identified in the preliminary needs assessment report include:

• Emergency shelter funding assistance (BETHS currently funded for seven beds by BC Housing—ensure the support is maintained)

• Twelve units of transition housing—justification is provided in the report

• Supportive longer-term housing—to be determined

The next steps will include:

• Selection of a preferred site

• A business plan and determination of a city asset contribution (i.e. mortgage down payment) to go towards CMHC/BC Housing back mortgage

• Formation of a local partnership to sponsor the project

Council also received the THPSC meeting minutes from Sept. 16. The committee consists of representatives from council, city staff members, RDKB Area D director, representatives from community organizations, as well as planning consultant and meeting facilitator Dave Smith.

The committee is looking at site options and was given a PowerPoint display of possible sites for review and evaluation.