Charla Huber / Special to the Gazette
The M’akola Housing Society has transformed five homes into 36. This isn’t a magic trick, it’s the result of hard work and determination, bringing more affordable housing to Langford.
Five townhomes along Goldstream Avenue were removed and in its place, at 550 Goldstream Ave., an apartment building with two- and three-bedroom units now exists and will be ready for tenants on April 1.
“It’s getting more and more expensive to raise a family, with rents escalating and getting further and further out of reach” said M’akola CEO, Kevin Albers. “This building provides affordable housing for families where they prefer to live and raise their children, close to schools, recreation, transportation and shopping.”
M’akola provides 1,600 homes to 5,000 family members across the province and has six housing complexes in Langford.
“In Langford we are a big advocate of affordable housing. M’akola has operated here since the 1980s and has evolved just as the City of Langford has,” Mayor Stew Young said. “We welcome this M’akola project and the many more to come. Langford is about taking care of families and M’akola is helping us do that.”
With many long-term operating agreements with various levels of government and housing providers expiring, M’akola has been developing other strategies to create and offer affordable housing through strategic partnerships.
“This project was the result of a significant investment by M’akola Housing Society which allowed us to leverage B.C. Housing grants and long-term financing. In the end it was the City of Langford that provided that last jolt to get us over the finish line and into construction,” Albers said. “The City of Langford couldn’t be a better partner and they continue to set the bar very high for other municipalities.”
M’akola Development Services, a social enterprise branch of the M’akola Group was the development consultant and project manager for the project, “transforming this building from an idea through to fruition,” explained Albers. “I am so proud of the team, and the hard work they have invested to make this a reality.”
Not only will the new building provide homes for 36 families, it will also bring more than 25 full-time positions to Langford, including Albers’.
“Langford has been a big supporter of affordable housing, families and especially M’akola. This is a perfect pairing for M’akola,” Albers said.
In 2008 Langford won a national Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation award for its affordable housing program for homeownership. Developers in Langford must adhere to the program and sell a percentage of homes built for a lower cost to families in need. The program was first introduced in 2004.
The City also contributed $263,600 through municipal grants and various fee reductions to this project.
M’akola Group of Societies is the largest Aboriginal Housing provider in the province. The homes in its newest building are ready for viewing and tenants can move in April 1. Interest has been fast and furious with over 300 inquires in the first few days leading M’akola to seek out further rental project opportunities in Langford. Units will be rented at the lower end of market, with rent for a two bedroom, two bathroom unit starting at $895/month.
Charla Huber is a former reporter for the Goldstream News Gazette.