This is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Need for housing in Salmon Arm climbs while units being constructed

More demand for temporary shelter and much earlier than in 2019

During the coronavirus pandemic, affordable housing being constructed in Salmon Arm by BC Housing and the Canadian Mental Health Association is moving forward, while the demand for accommodation keeps rising.

One of two four-storey affordable rental buildings at 540 Third St. SW is the closest to being finished, with an anticipated completion date before the end of 2020 or early 2021, said Dawn Dunlop, executive director with CMHA Shuswap-Revelstoke.

Named Larch Place, it sits in the back corner of the property that fronts on Third Street SW.

It and a second affordable rental building, Birch Place, will provide a total of 67 units with a mix of one- to four-bedroom designs for families, seniors and people with disabilities. Rents will be geared to income, which means people will pay approximately 30 per cent of their gross household income.

Birch Place sits close to the fence along Fifth Avenue SW, the building currently covered in white Tyvek house wrap. It is expected to be complete in April 2021, Dunlop said.

Once details are finalized, CMHA will hold a community engagement session to provide the public with information such as how to apply, she explained.

Read more: Council aims to ease plans for housing homeless in Shuswap

Read more: Residents asked to share ideas for housing needs in Salmon Arm

In the meantime, CMHA runs 150 units of housing, but wait lists are long and vacancies are few. However, Dunlop encourages people who are looking for housing to start the process by going onto the BC Housing Registry to apply.

A third building going up at the front of the property, Cedar Place, will feature 38 studio units with on-site supports for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Cedar Place is expected to be complete in the fall of 2021.

Dunlop said housing has been in a crisis situation for a long time, which continues during the pandemic and even seems to be getting worse.

“People from all walks of life are having trouble accessing housing. We are seeing people across the range,” Dunlop said.

She added that CMHA gets many calls, many drop-ins and many people registering for housing.

Recently, as winter gets closer, people who would not come inside before are now looking for accommodation.

Read more: COVID-19: McGuire Lake building secured for temporary housing, Lighthouse shelter to move in

Read more: Freezing cold emphasizes need for drop-in centre for Salmon Arm’s homeless

Dunlop said CMHA works closely with Lieutenant Joel Torrens and his team at the Salvation Army, which owns the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter and is currently, because of COVID-19, operating temporary housing at the former McGuire Lake Congregate Living facility at 551 Trans-Canada Hwy.

Torrens said although usage at the McGuire Lake facility was low during the summer, the increase in need has been surprising.

“There are more people that need spaces than there are spaces to fit into,” he said. “It seems to be the reality throughout the region.”

He said the Salvation Army has been working with BC Housing to add capacity while adhering to Interior Health standards, possibly by having two people to a room.

The Lighthouse shelter, which is now closed, reached its highest number, 21, on one of the coldest nights last winter. Torrens said that number will soon be surpassed when more spaces at McGuire Lake become available.

Although McGuire Lake was opened as a temporary measure during the pandemic because it offers space where people can be isolated if necessary, it will continue for now because the pandemic remains.

Torrens notes how collaboration with and help from other organizations has been essential and much appreciated. For instance, Sorrento Centre has provided three meals a day at the facility for months, CMHA provided furniture, BC Housing funded renovations.

“It’s been a journey and we still have a ways to go. We’re looking at doing this better and better every day. Seeing how everyone has worked together to make this happen has been incredible,” Torrens said.

CMHA’s Dawn Dunlop also referred to the need for collaboration in providing a permanent housing supply.

She expressed appreciation for the city’s role in forming a housing task force to work on affordable housing. She also said provincial participation was key in Salmon Arm’s current projects and she encourages people to make affordable housing a priority topic during the provincial election.

“No one can do affordable housing on their own,” she emphasized.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon ArmHousing and Homelessness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


BC Housing, partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association, is constructing three buildings at the corner of 540 Third St. SW in Salmon Arm. Started first was the building, back right, which, along with the white building at back left, will provide 67 units of affordable housing for families, seniors and people with disabilities. The third building, in front, will provide 38 units with on-site supports for people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Just Posted

BC Liberal Party Shuswap candidate Greg Kyllo and wife Georgina celebrate another successful campaign, with preliminary results for the 42nd provincial general election showing Greg winning the riding with a comfortable majority. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap’s Greg Kyllo faces third term and BC NDP majority

BC NDP candidate Sylvia Lindgren celebrates party’s success

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

BC Liberal Party Shuswap candidate Greg Kyllo and wife Georgina celebrate another successful campaign, with preliminary results for the 42nd provincial general election showing Greg winning the riding with a comfortable majority. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
BC Liberal Party Shuswap candidate Greg Kyllo and wife Georgina celebrate another successful campaign, with preliminary results for the 42nd provincial general election showing Greg winning the riding with a comfortable majority. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
BC Election 2020: Preliminary results show BC Liberal Greg Kyllo winning third term as Shuswap MLA

Kyllo expressed gratitude to voters and supporters as results rolled in on Oct. 24

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kelowna Secondary School. (SD23 photo)
One case of COVID-19 identified at Kelowna Secondary School

Interior Health will follow up directly with those who may have been exposed to the virus

BC NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu offered praise to her team of volunteers (pictured Oct. 21), following a too-close race with BC Liberal and incumbent Eric Foster in the 2020 provincial election Oct. 24. The outcome will be dependent on the final count from mail-in ballots expected in three weeks. (Facebook)
‘Every vote counts’ in tight Vernon-Monashee race: NDP Harwinder Sandhu

Incumbent BC Liberal Eric Foster finishes election night with slim lead

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO)
UPDATE: One dead after Highway 97A crash near Armstrong, police watchdog investigating

The crash happened as RCMP attempted to stop an alleged stolen vehicle

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Most Read