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‘Dream come true’: Kelowna renters respond to affordable housing survey

YeYe Housing Society development aimed at first time home buyers
YeYe Housing Society is planning to build 20 townhomes at the corner of Flemming and Houghton roads for first-time home buyers. (Photo/YeYe Housing)

With Kelowna ranked as the fifth most expensive rental market in Canada, an opportunity to own their first home would likely be appealing to many renters.

Rental market website Zumper puts a one-bedroom in the city at an average of $1,980 a month.

A survey by YeYe Housing Society finds that owning a home would be a dream come true for many Kelowna residents, providing security, stability and freedom.

The not-for-profit is proposing an affordable housing development in Rutland. The townhomes would be offered at 20 to 25 per cent below market price.

READ MORE: Affordable housing project for Kelowna’s Rutland neighbourhood

“Housing affordability is one of the top issues if not the top issue in our community and around the province,” said president Norm Letnick, who is also the MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country.

One of the things that stood out in the survey, he said, was that 93 out of the 115 respondents are first-time buyers.

“Those that have equity in their homes already, we asked them to stay in the market, these homes are trying to give people a hand up.”

Letnick said some of the comments from the survey tug at the heartstrings.

“Some of the situations people find themselves in,” he added.

One comment came from a parent who said they would no longer be homeless with their kids, and would not be looked down on by shelter workers.

“It would make all my dreams come true,” said someone who relocated from Africa. “I moved to Kelowna six years ago from Zimbabwe to give my daughters a better life and this would be the cherry on the cake.”

Letnick stressed that people are buying a home, and will have to qualify for a mortgage.

“There is no government subsidy, it’s not tied to 30 per cent of their income, they actually have to go out and get a mortgage.”

He added that for some it might mean still having to rent if they don’t qualify. YeYe’s Rutland project is just the beginning, according to Letnick.

“Our full intention is two things, one is to encourage developers to do the same and help our community by building housing that people can afford, and as a not-for-profit our mandate is to continue building.”

The survey also found that 96 respondents said if they were able to purchase their first home, it would add to the rental inventory in the city.

“So not only would we be helping young families or entry-level buyers get into the market…we would also free up a rental spot,” added Letnick.

More information on the Rutland project, and the survey, can be found on the YeYe Housing Society website.

READ MORE: More action needed on housing affordability in Kelowna: Staff report


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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