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Support Offered to Rural Residents for Secondary Suites

Rural homeowners considering adding a secondary suite at their residence may be able to get funding assistance from the province.

The government says 16 regional districts are being added to the Secondary Suites Incentive Program, including the Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, and Sunshine Coast regional districts.

The program will provide approximately three-thousand homeowners in BC with forgivable loans of up to 40-thousand dollars to build a new secondary suite or an accessory dwelling unit on their property.

To qualify, the units must be rented below market rates for at least five years.

Currently, 16 of BC’s 27 regional districts have the necessary building bylaws, permit and inspection services across their electoral areas to be eligible.

Cowichan Valley Regional District Area H director, Ben Maartman, says the program will make a difference and is glad the government expanded eligibility to include electoral areas, as well as municipalities.

The three-year SSIP applies to all 161 incorporated municipalities in BC, and the government hopes to include more regional districts in the second and third years.

Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development, says the housing crisis affects all corners of the province and the addition of below-market rental suites and accessory units will help rural people, and communities.

The SSIP is a three-year pilot program introduced in September 2023 and is set to launch in April 2024.

It will support the creation of as many as 1,000 affordable rental units per year for three years.

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