The Ambrosia housing development in Keremeos is getting close to being ready. (Keremeos Review)

The Ambrosia housing development in Keremeos is getting close to being ready. (Keremeos Review)

Lower Similkameen Community Services Society looking to future with more affordable housing

The LSCSS is preparing for another new project in the coming years

The Lower Similkameen Community Services Society is looking ahead and preparing for the future with plans for more affordable housing in the community.

Keremeos’ Village Council gave their approval to writing up a letter of support for the next project at their council meeting on June 7.

The project is being planned for the future, as the Ambrosia, Cactus Court and Quail Crossing projects come online over the coming months, and funding opportunities become available.

“We want to keep rolling, and I know it takes years for these things to unfold,” said Sarah Martin, the executive director of the LSCSS. “We might have to wait two years for the right proposal call from BC Housing, so I need to get a package ready and plans drawn.”

When the land was purchased for the Ambrosia development, the two lots at the north end of the block were also bought by two members of the community who donated the property to the LSCSS.

So far those lots have been used to house some of the workers for Mierau Contracting while they build Ambrosia,

“This has actually helped facilitate building Ambrosia because if you look there, there are RVs housing some of the construction guys, “said Martin. “These two vacant lots have probably saved the project a small fortune, just in helping keep the living allowances lower.”

With those two lots, the LSCSS is looking to the future and building further housing to meet the community’s needs.

READ MORE: Keremeos has oldest population in Similkameen-Okanagan

The current request is for support of up to 30 units of affordable housing for seniors, low-to-moderate income families and people with disabilities.

That will be partially reliant on council’s support for variances on parking requirements when the project comes up for a development permit in the future.

A possible call for funding may be coming in the fall, and the LSCSS is aiming to be ready for it to capitalize on Mierau’s prescece in the community.

“In my perfect world BC Housing would see the efficiencies of having this contractor and the architect just carry on,” said Martin. “They know the building, the know how to do the tie-in to have it be phase two for the same community.”

The affordable housing is very needed in a community that is quickly approaching over half the population made up of seniors, as the latest census showed that 47 per cent of the village’s residents are 65 or older.

Outside of the ongoing construction work, the LSCSS has been busy building up their staff as well, bringing on an additional housing coordinator and a financial support person.

“We’ve been a little delayed in some of our base business so we’re definitely trying to get back to that,” said Martin. “So this is us putting the irons in the fire for maybe three years down the road, and we’re also getting our base caught up.”

The LSCSS is just wrapping up an internal audit, that will be followed by their AGM and elections for the board of directors.

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