Glen O’Reilly requested that a parcel of land big enough for a 20-unit affordable housing project be dedicated in trust to the society so that he can approach BC Housing for funding. (RCHS)

Glen O’Reilly requested that a parcel of land big enough for a 20-unit affordable housing project be dedicated in trust to the society so that he can approach BC Housing for funding. (RCHS)

Revelstoke Community Housing Society aiming to break catch-22 cycle

Requesting land in trust from City for 20-unit affordable housing project

  • Dec. 17, 2017 12:00 a.m.

The Revelstoke Community Housing Society is asking the City of Revelstoke to dedicate a parcel of land in trust for a new affordable housing project.

Glen O’Reilly, the chair of RCHS gave a presentation to city council on Dec. 12.

“We’re requesting nothing more than we’ve asked for and received in the past,” he said.

O’Reilly detailed the process of planning an affordable housing project and talked about a catch-22 situation where the society is expected to approach BC Housing when they already have land to apply for funding.

“For the last year I’ve been repeating this mantra over and over; I can say it in my sleep. So picture a dog chasing his tail when I say this. Without land, we cannot apply for funding. Without funding, we cannot do a proposal for our project. Without a proposal for a project, we cannot apply for land,” he said. “See where this is going? It’s going nowhere.”

RELATED: Revelstoke affordable housing complex ready for residents

O’Reilly requested that a parcel of land big enough for a 20-unit affordable housing project be dedicated in trust to the society so that he can approach BC Housing for funding.

“We’re not asking you to give us land,” he said. “We’re asking you to give us land in trust.”

O’Reilly said that the city did just that with the society’s previous affordable housing projects on Oscar Street.

Its latest affordable units in the townhouses on Oscar Street opened in 2016.

In a letter dated Nov. 23, also presented to council, O’Reilly writes that he wants the society to be in a position when the next funding announcements go out, that they are ready to apply with a “‘shelf-ready’ project concept.”

There continues to be a shortage of affordable housing in Revelstoke.

“The community is in crisis,” said Mayor Mark McKee. “It’s only going to get worse.”

Council voted to have staff work with RCHS on the request.

“I get the sense we’re really close on this one,” said councillor Aaron Orlando. “The devil is in the details.”

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