ATTAINABLE HOUSING

REGIONAL HOUSING SERVICE

TENANTS & LANDLORDS

ABOUT

The issue of affordable housing has been of concern in the Cowichan region for the past decade or more.  Extensive discussions on the issue have been held over several years with the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD).  Recently announced dollars for federal and provincial housing programs can be accessed but projects that can show strong support by local governments have a much higher chance of approval. The Regional Housing Service demonstrates local commitment and funding, which enables us to all be more effective in meeting the growing housing needs in our region.

 

The adoption of bylaw 4201 on April 11th, 2018, established an Annual Financial Contribution Service to assist with providing programs and services related to affordable housing and homelessness prevention in the Cowichan Region.

 

The Regional Housing Service has two primary goals;

  1. To increase local funds for affordable housing, to leverage funds from other sources and to incentivize the development of affordable and attainable housing options in the Cowichan Region.
  2. To provide the expertise, knowledge and support to local communities to develop affordable housing projects.
FUNDING PROGRAMS
  1. Project Development Fund (PFD)

 Goal:

To support non-profit organizations to develop affordable housing proposals for projects that are in the pre-construction phase.

Purpose:

To address pre-construction “soft-costs” for proposals that aim to create new affordable housing by way of construction, acquisition and/or conversions.

Funds:

Maximum funding for proposed PDF projects is $25,000

 

  1. Rental Housing Capital Contribution Fund (RHCCF)

Goal:

To address the shortfall in affordable rental housing stock within the Cowichan Region

Purpose:

To support development of new affordable rental housing stock, shelters and second stage housing by making a contribution to capital costs.

To enhance community contributions and partnerships in order to leverage additional funding resources.

Funds:

Funding may be up to 10% of the overall project budget.

CHA ASSISTANCE TO PROJECTS

Many organizations seeking to build or preserve affordable housing do not have access to housing expertise or are challenged on how best to navigate funding and regulatory processes. Cowichan Housing Association will assist organizations developing affordable housing projects to strengthen partnerships with various government agencies and to develop housing expertise through the following:

 

  • Provide information on government funding options
  • Liaise with all orders of government to help local organizations
  • Support affordable rental projects from project development through to construction and to operations, by providing direct support and/or linking housing proponents to regional expertise
  • Build-up expertise within CHA in order to provide local efforts with appropriate best practices
  • Provide tools to local organizations to implement best practices for consultations and communications, and foster positive community engagement
  • Provide information on regional housing consultants, builders, architects, engineers
  • Foster improved understanding of the development process and requirements for obtaining approvals and permits related to local government rezoning, design and building
  • Identify non-government funding sources for affordable housing
  • Identify potential partnerships that can assist projects

FAQ’s

What are the two Funding Streams?
  1. Project Development Fund (PDF)
  2. Rental Housing Capital Contribution Fund (RHCCF)
What are some eligible activities for PDF funding?
  • Analysis of need / demand for proposed project
  • Special purpose surveys
  • Preliminary financial feasibility
  • Business Plans
  • Professional appraisals
  • Site surveys
  • Local government fees
  • Preliminary design
  • Project viability assessment
Who is Eligible?
  • Proponents must demonstrate the following:
  • Be in good standing, have a strong track record in addressing community needs
  • Demonstrate capacity to deliver the project
  • Proposed project is aligned with the Cowichan Attainable Housing Strategy
  • Proposed project is more than 3 units
  • There is community support for the proposed project
  • Aligns with local government plans / bylaws (RHCCF)
  • Proponents have ownership interest in proposed sites, in form of freehold title or long term lease (RHCCF)
How to apply?
  1. Meet with Cowichan Housing Association to discuss the project concept
  2. Submit a PDF Application Package OR provide a Letter of Intent (LOI) for RHCCF funding.
  3. Click here for funding application forms and guidelines
Decision Process

Project Development Funding (PDF)

  • The CHA Executive Director presents the application package to the Housing Trust Fund Allocations Committee (HTFAC) for evaluation and scoring. A recommendation is made to the Board of the Cowichan Housing Association to; (a) grant funds to the proponent, (b) request further information from the proponent or (c) reject the application.
  • The Cowichan Housing Association Board of Directors reviews the Allocations Committee’s recommendation(s) and, if in agreement, provides final approval.

 

Rental Housing Capital Contribution Fund (RHCCF)

  • The proponent provides a Letter of Intent (LOI) to the CHA Executive Director.
  • The CHA Executive Director presents the LOI to the Housing Trust Fund Allocations Committee for review and recommendation to proceed, or not, to the submission of a full proposal.
  • Successful proponents provide a completed RHCCF application to the CHA Executive Director.
  • The CHA Executive Director presents the RHCCF application package to the Housing Trust Fund Allocations Committee for evaluation and scoring. A recommendation is made to the Board of Directors of the Cowichan Housing Association to; (a) grant funds to the proponent, (b) request further information from the proponent or (c) deny the application.
  • The CHA Board reviews the Allocations Committee’s recommendation(s) and makes a recommendation to the CVRD Board of Directors to allocate funding from the Housing Trust Fund.
  • The CVRD Board of Directors votes on the recommendation to fund the grant.
  • The CVRD allocates funds from the Housing Trust Fund to the Cowichan Housing Association who dispenses funds to successful applicants.

Regional Housing Service Guidelines

In April 2019, Cowichan Housing Association launched a Cowichan Attainable Housing Strategy that lays out priorities and an implementation plan for increasing availability of affordable housing in the Cowichan Region. The programs and activities of the Regional Housing Service will be implemented to serve the aims of the Strategy, and will be evaluated on that basis.

 

The Regional Housing Service Guidelines document is to describe the Regional Housing Service programs and the decision making processes by which the services and programs will be governed.

Questions, Concerns or Ideas? We’d Love to Hear from You.