The City of Merritt has announced new updates on the progress of transitional housing for flood affected residents, while many homeowners and renters alike continue to recover from last November’s flooding event. A total of 31 mobile homes are being purchased by the City, to be placed in Diamondvale Mobile Home Park in partnership with the park’s ownership.
The homes, which will be 2-4 bedrooms in size, will serve as temporary or transitional housing for flood affected residents in the Nicola Valley. They are intended to be used for a 4 to 24 month period while alternate housing is built, repaired, or found. Renters will also have the option to purchase the manufactured home from the City at the end of their term. City staff told the Herald that manufactured housing was the fastest and most cost effective route to temporary housing for residents.
“From my understanding, the original concept was to get housing as quickly as possible, so manufactured housing was the direction that we went in, for speed,” said Kim Mullin, the city’s communications manager.
“We did look at the 3D printing of housing, and while we do have some funding to go towards that, we have been unable to secure land for it at this time. From a cost perspective, 3D printing housing is quite a bit more costly.”
While the manufactured homes have been chosen for now, 3D printed housing is not off the table altogether. The City added that conversations are underway with potential partners, including area First Nations. Temporary housing continues to be a priority for the City, with the newly elected Mayor and Council identifying flood recovery as a priority.
The homes will be manufactured by Silver Mountain Contracting Limited, who will also organize and install the homes at Diamondvale Mobile Home Park on Clapperton Avenue. The order has been made, paid for through funding from the province’s $11.7 million housing initiative fund. The homes will be manufactured and delivered throughout spring of next year, with the first transitional housing occupant scheduled for occupancy in February 2023.
“The housing will be provided for potentially flood impacted residents. They will have to pay a subsidized rent, which will include the pad rental to Diamondvale Mobile Home Park,” said Steve Schell with the City.
“The reason why this housing is so important is because a number of residents that have impacted houses are still fixing those houses. Trying to get the various contractors in place to fix what needs to be fixed takes time. If these people are still working on their houses, they need a place to live while they work on their houses, that’s what this is providing.”
The units will be available at a subsidized rent of $1300, well below their estimated market value at $1500 – $2000. Tenants will be responsible for the cost of their own utilities, but pad rent, property management costs, lawn and snow maintenance, and repairs are included. Rental income will cover the cost of the project and its maintenance, and will not go towards the City’s general funds.
The City said it has contacted 115 eligible homeowners and renters, currently on Red Cross support, on an individual basis, inviting them to submit an application. Of those 115, a total of 29 applications were received for the 31 units. Follow ups will be conducted, and applications remain open until the extended deadline of December 12, 2022.
For more information, visit www.merritt.ca/housing.