Happy Holidays and Season’s Greetings from the Galiano Land and Community Housing Trust!

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Solstice, Festivus, what have you…this is the time of year when our thoughts turn homeward. We stack the firewood and hope we have enough, keep rainboots close to the door, and gather with our friends to celebrate making it through another busy summer and autumn. It sure has been busy for GLCHT!

Improving Existing Housing Now

Thanks to funding from the United Way of Greater Victoria and our partnership with the Galiano Island Resource Recycling Society, we have steadily been building capacity for green, affordable housing on Galiano. We received 16 applications for $1000 microgrants, and have teamed volunteers with applicants to create workplans, estimate costs and identify opportunities to use recycled materials to improve their housing. We also purchased a container to collect and store building materials. Currently, approved applicants are fixing up rental units and their own homes to be more functional, energy efficient, healthy and safe, and in general more livable. Thank you to everyone who applied or helped out with this project, and if you are interested in other opportunities to access grants to improve your home, we can steer you towards CMHC’s Rental Rehabilitation Assistance Program and Power Smart, Fortis, and LiveSmart BC, which are offering significant rebates and grants until March 31, 2012.

Creating New Housing in the New Year

The Land Lease Project is starting to catch on – thank you to everyone who has attended our Open houses and consultation meetings at Page Drive and the Activity Centre. We have made a $20,000 deposit and a bylaw is now being drafted in response to our rezoning application for Community Housing on 10 acres at 409 Porlier Pass Rd. The details have not all been finalized, but the economics of the project would look essentially like this: VanCity Savings Credit Union is interested in advancing GLCHT a mortgage for the purchase price and the owners have agreed to donate a significant amount to a local charitable organization we will partner with to create a community garden and publicly accessible nature path dedicated in honour of the owners’ family. GLCHT will lease housing sites to appropriate applicants for between $175- $400/month, depending on the size of their dwelling. GLCHT will service the land, investing in water, waste, transportation and energy systems that will minimize ongoing costs for up to 15 homeowners.

So what’s next? We need you!

Our aim is to help build a sustainable, attainable, vibrant community but we can’t do it alone. We need your input – whether you encourage friends or family members to put in an application, give us your ideas or concerns, join a committee or get your hands dirty, please do so! We are currently expanding our committees as this is a huge undertaking for our volunteer board. The committees are Land Lease Management Team, Community Consultation, Housing Triage, Finance, and Research and Development. This project is for all of us, to strengthen our community and help people living here…adult children of island families who are renting year after year but want to build a stable future, islanders having difficulty staying on their land as income shrinks or taxes go up, and young workers who have joined the community, but for whom the cost of land is prohibitive.

EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) on December 4th at the South End Hall

Come learn about and make decisions about the Land Lease project. Will we move forward with it? We need both potential applicants and GLCHT members to come together to hammer out the details of what we want to see happen, when and how. You‘ve heard the rumors, but this is your chance to get things straight, get inspired and get involved for the upcoming year!

If you are at all interested in building and owning your own sustainable, attainable home on land leased from the GLCHT, now is the time to express your interest and find out more! This “means test” will help us identify and understand the needs of Galiano community members looking to build equity instead of paying rent. Qualified applicants will be mentored through a more detailed application process which will include a construction plan, financing plan and housing agreement.

Please download and print, then mail/drop off following completed form at our office at #6 – 33 Manzanita Rd, Galiano or give it to one of our board members: Kathryn Byrne, Emily Menzies, Jordan Hartman, Doug Latta, Tom Hennessy, John Parfitt, George Harris or Barry New.

Questions? Email emily@galianoaffordablehousing.org or call 250-539-8030.