Local seniors will soon have more options for affordable, accessible housing with the construction of a new 44-unit rental apartment building.

Cedar Terrace will be located at 2230 Quilchena Ave. on provincially owned land, and will offer studio, one-bedroom and accessible apartments within a four-storey building.

“These new homes will help seniors live independently and stay connected to their community,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing.

“Providing homes people can afford in every corner of the province is our goal, and today’s announcement is great news for these seniors and for the broader community.”

The new homes for seniors will be operated by ASK Wellness Society, and will be for seniors with low and moderate incomes. ASK will be receiving approximately $4.7 million form the Province’s Building BC: Community Housing Fund.

“We are very excited for what this new housing will provide to the City of Merritt, in particular those who have found it challenging to find safe and affordable housing,” said Bob Hughes, executive director, ASK Wellness Society.

“This new facility is being created to honour the needs of our local aging population by providing housing to residents who are 55 and older with rental fees geared to their income. After 14 years of operations in Merritt, we have seen the growing gap in accessible housing for seniors, and with Cedar Terrace we are narrowing that gap.”

With Merritt being affected by skyrocketing real estate prices, and an extreme lack of available rental housing, seniors have been particularly left out in the cold when it comes to finding a suitable place to call home. Several proposed new housing developments have come before council for approval, but unlike this one on Quilchena Ave., none have been located in the downtown core where there is easy access to a grocery store, pharmacies, doctor and dentist offices, and public transit.

“There is a significant housing shortage in Merritt right now, especially for seniors, so I am thrilled about this project,” said Mayor Linda Brown.

“On behalf of council, we are extremely thankful for the support and foresight from BC Housing and Ask Wellness in addressing this critical need. I have heard from so many seniors who desperately need quality, affordable housing and couldn’t be happier to see this project move forward in our community.”

Construction on the building is expected to be concluded in summer 2022.