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Native housing society buying Esquimalt building to protect rentals

Lu’ma Native Housing Society is buying the 16-unit apartment with help from the provincial Rental Protection Fund.
Dave Ward, CEO of Lu’ma Development Management, announces the purchase of the building at 860 Carrie St. in Esquimalt on Wednesday with Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Residents of a 16-unit apartment building in Esquimalt up for potential redevelopment can stay put now that the Lu’ma Native Housing Society is buying the complex through the provincial Rental Protection Fund.

The society is purchasing the building at 860 Carrie St. for $5.3 million through a $3-million contribution from the fund combined with low-interest financing.

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said the fund, established a year ago, is making it possible for Lu’ma Native Housing to ensure current tenants will not face renoviction or displacement.

“The goal of the Rental Protection Fund is to ensure people and families, including those living in these 16 homes, will have the security and safety of staying in the place they know and the community they love.”

The society will oversee renovations to the roof and building exterior and upgrade three units in the building, but existing tenants will not face a rent increase, it said.

“Lu’ma Development Management is grateful for the opportunity to support our client to purchase this building and protect these 16 units,” said Lu ’ma Development Management chief executive Dave Ward.

The $500-million fund is part of the province’s Homes for People action plan, which addresses the need for new Indigenous housing around B.C. and has so far funded the preservation of close to 700 homes.

Announcements about those homes will be made in the coming months, the province said.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins praised the fund for allowing people who are part of the community to remain there. “Not only are we seeing the positive effects today, but we will see value in the future as spaces open up for Indigenous households.”

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