Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens opens 48 new affordable apartments for seniors

Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens has opened its new apartment building adjacent to the existing facilities, offering 48 affordable, independent living spaces for seniors.

Meaning side of a hill in Nuu-chah-nulth, the Huupsitas Apartments opened in November 2022 at 6161 Russell Place in Port Alberni. It is the latest expansion of the Tsawaayuus senior’s complex that started in 1992 with the construction of a facility that offered 30 long-term care beds primarily for Indigenous elders.

Murder raises housing urgency for city’s marginalized

A murder in Port Alberni’s poorest neighbourhood has raised the urgency for an upcoming development that will house the city’s marginalized residents.

Just before 9 p.m. on Dec. 2 police found three people injured from knife wounds, with one person who was killed during the incident on Port Alberni’s lower 4th Avenue. Police tape was put up at a unit in the Wintergreen Apartments, a building next to an empty lot full of run-down trailers being rented for low rates.

Citaapi Mahtii signs the deed for Ahousaht's affordable housing development in Port Alberni

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, Gina Amos, Wally Samuel, George Frank, and Ed Ross met with Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions. They came together for the signing of the deed to the former Cedarwood Elementary School, where they plan to build an affordable housing complex for Ahousaht members living in Port Alberni.

Roughly four years ago Ahousaht’s elected chief and council initiated the search for housing for the First Nation’s members living in Port Alberni, said Ahousaht elder Wally Samuel.

People displaced after supportive housing funding gets axed

A supportive housing facility in Port Alberni for individuals experiencing substance use issues has had to close its doors after Island Health chose not to renew a contract with the service provider.

The New Leaf opened 12 recovery beds in the community in 2015 for people working towards recovery from substance use. Island Health funded six of those beds until they recently chose not to renew the contract with New Leaf owner Lisa George.

George said five people were displaced following the facility’s closure and seven staff members were let go.  

Tla-o-qui-aht calls on regional leaders to address west coast housing crisis

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation is calling upon regional leaders on Vancouver Island’s west coast to come together to tackle the issue of affordable housing in the region.

One consequence of the housing crisis is that Tla-o-qui-aht members have lost the ability to return to live in their homelands, read a release issued by Tla-o-qui-aht’s ha’wiih (hereditary chiefs) and elected council on July 4.

Meanwhile, visitors looking for an affordable place to camp are lucky to find a $200 site, the release added.

City of Port Alberni convenes public hearing on Ahousaht’s proposed apartment building

Ahousaht elder Wally Samuel appeared before Port Alberni city council on the evening of May 31 seeking zoning amendments that would allow for the construction of much-needed affordable housing units in the city.

He was representing the Citaapi Mahtii Housing Society in its application to amend the Official Community Plan and zoning bylaws at 4210 Cedarwood Street, the site of the former Cedarwood Elementary School, that they hope will be replaced with a four-storey, 35-unit apartment complex.

Housing crisis hits Tla-o-qui-aht as members see eviction notices

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members gathered in front of the nation’s main office near the Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort in Tofino to protest recent housing evictions on March 31. 

Nora Martin said she was evicted from her home in Ty-Histanis on March 30 after being asked to pay for arrears that her son hadn’t covered. 

The arrears further accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic after Martin said she was told by chief and council that she was eligible to defer her monthly rent for one year.

Housing affordability, living wage needed as one in five of Alberni-Clayoquot live in poverty

Housing affordability is a main concern for Port Alberni city council when it comes to reducing poverty in the Alberni Valley.

City council received the Poverty Reduction Action Plan from the Alberni-Clayoquot Health Network on Monday that provided several recommendations to help individuals out of poverty and to avoid becoming destitute in the first place.

Marcie DeWitt, Alberni-Clayoquot Health Network coordinator, provided council with highlights from the 63-page report that she said should provide advocacy tools for municipal governments in the region.

Housing demand in Bamfield expected to skyrocket as road paving is set to begin

It has been a quiet, picturesque village for as long as anyone can remember, but with road improvements set to begin later this year, Anacla and its neighbor Bamfield are seeing a dramatically increasing demand for housing.

Chief Councillor Robert Dennis says the Huu-ay-aht village of Anacla has maintained a steady population of about 85 to 90 residents up to the year 2020. But the following year saw a dramatic increase to 156, and he expects that number to grow even more by this time next year when the chip sealing and paving of the road to Port Alberni is complete.

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