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Program to support construction of affordable long-term rentals begins in April

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
March 18th, 2024

The regional district surrounding Nelson could see a building boom starting next month.

In April, the Secondary Suites Incentive Program (SSIP) will begin in earnest in the Regional District of Central Kootenay, providing more affordable housing options for builders and homeowners in the RDCK.

Part of the provincial Homes for People action plan — supporting the supply of affordable long-term rentals — the program allows more people to access below-market housing in rural areas.

The three-year pilot SSIP was introduced in September 2023 but now — with the April launch date this year — could support the delivery of as many as 1,000 affordable rental units per year for three years.

To do so, the SSIP will provide approximately 3,000 homeowners with forgivable loans for as much as $40,000 to create a new secondary suite or an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on their property. To qualify, the units must be rented below market rates for at least five years, said Kootenay-Boundary resident and Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development, Roly Russell.

“Rural homeowners who want to create a rental suite and people looking for affordable homes in rural B.C. will have more options soon,” he said “Giving people here more options and support is important, and the addition of below-market rental suites and accessory units will help rural people, and communities, everywhere.”

The RDCK had the necessary building bylaws, and building-permit and inspection services across its electoral areas to make it eligible for the SSIP.

One Slocan Valley builder — who asked to not be identified — felt the program would make a difference in the RDCK.

“I’m glad to see eligibility to include electoral areas, and there’s no doubt there will be an impact on housing availability in communities,” he said.


Home is where …

To help homeowners navigate the process for a secondary suite, the Province released Home Suite Home, a guide to build and manage a rental suite.

To aid in the permitting process for RDCK officials and homeowners, a standardized housing-design project has been released and contains standardized designs that will be pre-approved for ADUs and small-scale, multi-unit dwellings.

Four of these standardized designs and plans for ADUs are expected to be available to local governments by summer 2024, and will help homeowners and builders save on time and costs.

The SSIP project is part of the Homes for People action plan and the $19-billion housing investment by the Province.

Source: Province of B.C.


Go beyond

For information about the Secondary Suite Incentive Program and to sign up for updates, visit:

To read the Home Suite Home guide, visit:

To learn more about the standardized housing design, visit:

To read the Homes for People action plan, visit:

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