Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Balmoral Hotel Provides 20 Units of Housing

$1.7M SUPPORTIVE HOUSING

OPENS FOR HOMELESS IN NANAIMO

People facing homelessness in Nanaimo now have access to 20 new units of supportive housing thanks to funding from the Province and community partners, announced Ron Cantelon, Minister of Agriculture and Lands and MLA for Nanaimo-Parksville.
“The Province is committed to providing safe and stable housing for British Columbians who are homeless,” said Cantelon. “By increasing access to affordable housing with support services, we’re giving people the opportunity to leave the streets and build stable, healthy homes for themselves.”
The Balmoral Hotel is comprised of 20 studio units; nine of these units have private bathrooms while the other 11 units share four common bathrooms in the residential space. The original hotel had a 125-seat bar that is being converted into a commercial office for support services.
The Province provided approximately $1.2 million in mortgage financing through Community Partnership Initiatives and a $150,000 grant towards the purchase of the development funded through the Housing Trust Fund.
The Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia provided a $250,000 grant towards the purchase of the hotel and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Mid Island Branch provided $30,000. The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) provided $76,000 in funding towards renovations for the hotel. VIHA is currently reviewing additional funding requirements for operating costs as part of its 2009/10 budget planning and approval process.
“The Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia is pleased to be a part of this partnership that will provide affordable, stable housing for vulnerable Nanaimo residents,” said Jack Hall, foundation chair. “We support the collaborative community approach that CMHA Mid Island Branch utilized in developing this project.”
The development is managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Mid Island Branch. The CMHA Mid Island Branch is a voluntary organization whose goal is to educate people about mental health issues and change the way people view and treat mental illness in the Island region.
“We are committed to fostering independence and success for people who are socially marginalized, by providing housing and supports to our community’s most vulnerable,” said Christina Martens, executive director of CMHA Mid Island Branch. “The Balmoral Hotel will provide a stable, supportive environment for people who want to make positive changes in their lives and encourages self-sufficiency that leads to safe, healthy communities.”
Community Partnership Initiatives (CPI) was created by the Province to implement innovative strategies that create more affordable housing for people in need. CPI provides mortgage financing for unique housing solutions, without the need for ongoing operating subsidies.
‘Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness’ is a website providing a comprehensive and detailed look at provincial programs and services to address homelessness. Visit www.bchousing.org/breakingthecycle for more information.


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