More than 500 new homes coming to Kamloops

During a press conference in Kamloops on June 24, the provincial government announced that projects to build 500 new homes and shelter spaces across the community will begin soon.

On Monday, B.C. Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon was joined by Kamloops city councillor Katie Neustaeter and other local dignitaries for the announcement at 515 Columbia St. in downtown Kamloops, one of the sites where future homes will be built.

“The housing challenges that we’re dealing with across the country, Kamloops is not immune to that. We’re seeing the challenges of the lack of housing here in this community and communities throughout this province,” Kahlon said.

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), as of last October, the vacancy rate (the total number of homes available for rent) in Kamloops was 1.4 per cent, nearly matching Canada’s national vacancy rate, which the CMHC states is the lowest it has ever been.

“We cannot address a housing crisis without having governments playing an important role in investing in affordable housing,” Kahlon said.

Kahlon said that the new homes are part of the BC Builds program and are expected to take a year and a half to two years to complete. The site at 515 Columbia, where the press conference was held, will include 200 affordable units.

“All of these homes will be the 20-50-30 mix,” Kahlon said. “Twenty per cent at shelter rates, so between $375 to $650 a month; 50 per cent rent geared to income and 30 per cent at market rate.”

Taking to the podium after Kahlon, councillor Neustaeter called the project a “giant leap” forward towards solving the housing crisis in Kamloops.

“Information our council requested from the province in February conclusively demonstrated that most unhoused people in our community are Kamloops residents,” Neustaeter said. “Whether or not we’re aware of it, they are our neighbours, they are our friends, they are our co-workers, they are our family. They are you, and they are me.”

Kamloops city councillor Katie Neustaeter speaks during the June press conference about new housing projects in Kamloops. Robert McAlaster/The Omega

Neustaeter proposed the motion requesting information during a city council meeting in 2023. When the council received the data from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction in February, it put to rest rumours that many of the unhoused were being ‘bused in’ from other communities, clarifying that most unhoused originated in Kamloops.

The Columbia Street project is the second of two BC Builds sites in Kamloops, the first being located at 377 Tranquille Ave., where a six-storey purpose-built rental building will be erected.

Further details about the BC Builds-Kamloops projects and information about other local projects announced during the press conference may be found here.