The Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA) expects to open its affordable housing project on Buller Street in late summer or early fall in 2022. Karen Laing, LRCA executive director, presented an update on the project at the Ladysmith Interagency meeting on Dec. 9.
She said many people are calling to inquire how to be put on the list for the housing project and they are being directed to the BC Housing website to register.
“I am expecting we will receive well over 100–200 applications for the project and it speaks to the situation we are seeing in Ladysmith and that is a real challenge,” Laing said. When the opening day gets closer, she said a local committee will be formed to go through the applicants.
The project will provide 36 units — these will be split into seven dedicated to deep subsidy rates, 18 for rent geared to income and 11 for affordable market rent.
Laing said the project has seen challenges similar to other construction projects, specifically supply chain issues and cost of materials.
“We have been able to manage that and work with our project managers,” she said. “Things are coming together.”
Laing said the LRCA is encouraged by the Ladysmith Kinsmen starting an affordable housing society.
“Affordable housing is certainly on our radar and we are looking for opportunities and ways that we can support [it],” she said.
The LRCA also runs the only shelter in Ladysmith, at the Island Hotel. It is open 24/7 and Laing said it has maintained near full occupancy throughout the summer and is expected to in winter also.
“We are trying as best we can to not actually turn people away but try to find other alternatives for them if we can, but we are running at a pretty full occupancy,” she said.
The organization is hoping to expand its old site in the Rialto building. It moved to the Island to accommodate more people during the pandemic. The current site at the Island Hotel can shelter 10 people and the LRCA hopes to be able to accommodate the same at the Rialto.
“In terms of housing and sheltering it keeps us busy, it keeps us up at night and we are very focused on trying to be that place to come to to find a way to be housed, be supported, be sheltered,” Laing said.
The Ladysmith Interagency Committee meets every second Thursday of the month and usually has a guest speaker, such as Laing, who shares updates on in their organization.
“We hope to include businesses, including governments — all genres of folks that are served in the Ladysmith area,” said Rosalie Sawrie, chair of the meetings. “I think we still have a bit of a reputation of being senior focused and so we are really trying to break that down and get more people involved. It’s just an opportunity for people to share what’s going on in their organization or with their work.”