Representatives from BC Housing and the Boundary Family Services Society (BFSS) will be hosting a public information session Wednesday in the Grand Forks Secondary School auditorium to discuss the application process for the 19th Street affordable housing units with prospective tenants.
The meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. on July 24, will offer interested residents insight into the application and selection processes for the 52 one, two and three-bedroom units that are currently under construction in an area adjacent to Dick Bartlett Park.
“Come out and hear what it’s about, what we’re doing and see if this is something that might work for you,” said Ann Howard, the Interior regional director for BC Housing.
Howard said that the units, which will be priced to not exceed 30 per cent of a tenant’s monthly income, are “open to anyone experiencing housing challenges in Grand Forks.”
The 52 units offer homes to families, seniors and singles looking for affordable options in the city. “It’s an intentional community, for all intents and purposes,” said BFSS executive director Darren Pratt.
Howard said that the project was in the works even before the May 2018 flood in Grand Forks, but the city and BC Housing expedited it after the disaster out of concern that the region would require more immediate housing solutions.
Even before last May though, Pratt explained, the need for affordable housing in Grand Forks “was pretty significant pre-flood.”
Because Pratt’s organization has been designated to manage the buildings, he has been tracking how important more rental units in the Grand Forks market will be for locals and has been compiling a list of potential candidates for the new dwellings since a May 3 community meeting on housing.
“In my calculations,” Pratt said, “we could fill [the new units] right now with what we have on the list.”
Applications for the affordable housing units will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, based on a rubric that will be made public at the July 24 meeting, which is meant to provide direction to residents looking to move into the new buildings off 19th Street and to answer questions that they may have before they apply.
“Basically, what will happen after is that the next day on Thursday,” Pratt said, “doors will be opened [at BFSS] for applications to be dropped off here.”
While the prospect of more affordable housing options in Grand Forks is promising, Pratt explained that the issue is less well-understood across the Boundary region.
“We don’t have a super clear snapshot,” Pratt said, adding that he hopes that the Phoenix Foundation’s Vital Signs survey will shed light on housing in the Boundary more broadly.
“There’s still a need for market rentals in our community,” he added.