APPLICATION INTAKE CLOSED
Below Market Homes for Rent
To help alleviate the city’s near-zero rental vacancy exacerbated by the 2021 flood, the Province of BC is funding below-market transitional rentals for the City of Merritt. These new manufactured homes at Diamond Vale Mobile Home & RV Park (2776 Clapperton Ave, Merritt, BC) are open to all Merritt residents.
Eligible residents will receive subsidized housing, rented at $1,500 for a 2 bedroom unit, $1,550 for a 3 bedroom unit, and $1,600 for a 4 bedroom unit, which is approximately 85% of market rate. The rent will cover essential costs, such as pad rent, snow removal, and grass cutting on the tenant’s property. Renters must cover the cost of their own utilities, water, sewer and garbage collection.
This program is owned, created and administered by the City of Merritt. Rental properties are managed by Royal LePage.
NEWS RELEASE: PHASE TWO
To help alleviate the city’s near-zero rental vacancy exacerbated by the 2021 flood, the City of Merritt offered below-market transitional rentals for other Merritt residents through a Royal LePage Property Manager. Intake for Phase Two applications opened January 2023. The intake will continue as new homes are made available throughout the spring. The intake will close when all 31 homes are rented.
“With a near zero rental vacancy rate, exacerbated by the November 2021 flood, many long-time Merritt residents had to leave the city,” says City of Merritt Director of Flood Recovery and Mitigation, Sean Strang. “The addition of these 31 manufactured homes is a vital first step to refill the City’s ‘missing middle’ housing options. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners, both provincially and federally, to help Merritt recover from this historical disaster.”
Phase 2 rental rates are about 85% of market value, and cover pad rental, snow removal, and lawn care. New two-bedroom, three-bedroom, and four-bedroom manufactured homes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Renters will also be offered an adjusted buy-out option, eligible after the first 4 months up until December 2024. At the end of the program, if renters do not choose the buy-out option, they may be able to make new arrangements with the new property owners. No further financial supports are offered in Phase Two of the program; however, renters may submit for rental support through other agencies.
For more information on the program, contact email@example.com.
City of Merritt’s new Transitional Evacuee Manufactured Home Program (TEMHP)
With a budget of $8.5 million out of the $24,255,000 funding from the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs for the 2021 flood, the City of Merritt was able to introduce the Transitional Evacuee Manufactured Home Program (TEMHP) in Fall 2022 to provide housing assistance to flood-affected city residents, with priority given to those who had not been able to repair their homes or return to Merritt. The program offers subsidized or below-market, temporary, transitional, rental accommodation from 4 to 24 months. The first homes arrived the end of January 2023, with occupancy starting around the end of February 2023.
“The 2021 destructive flooding in Merritt left many residents without a safe place to call home,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “The Province and the City of Merritt have been working closely since then to find ways to support community members. These new homes provide a boost to Merritt’s housing stock, helping families and residents move back into their community.”
Approximately 130 homeowners/renters were identified as needing assistance to transition away from the Red Cross emergency supports. Each evacuee was contacted directly by a City of Merritt representative to gauge interest in the program. The program was also advertised and covered by local news media in fall 2022. Interested residents were invited to complete an application by December 12, 2022, which included a questionnaire to rank applicants by need. Priority was given to homeowners who were still living outside of Merritt, followed by renters. At the closing of Phase One, 20 displaced citizens were accepted into the program.
“We lost everything in the flood. Our 4-bedroom home, our furniture, and an affordable place to rent,” says new TEMHP program participant Valerie Stacey. “After the flood, rents skyrocketed. We were forced to live in a 5th wheel without water or sewer for about 7 months. Our only other option was to squeeze our family of four into a small one-bedroom rental. While the flood and the evacuation were very traumatic, the relentless uncertainty of getting a home was really, really difficult. We just couldn’t afford anything on the market. When the Red Cross told us about the City’s Transitional Housing Program, I was so excited. I am really grateful for the financial and mental health supports from the Red Cross. I’m really looking forward to seeing the new homes for the first time tomorrow. I can’t wait!”
Thanks to funding provided by the Province of BC, the City of Merritt was able to issue an RFP for the purchase of 31 manufactured homes. Silver Mountain Contracting (SMC) (an ATCO supplier) was ultimately awarded the project, with production beginning December 14, 2022. The modular buildings were produced in, and shipped from, SMC’s ATCO manufacturing plant in Calgary, AB, and delivered to and installed at the Diamond Vale Mobile Home & RV Park (2776 Clapperton Ave, Merritt, BC). On February 10, 2023, the City of Merritt hosted a media event to witness the installation of the new homes and participate in a tour. The first occupants took possession towards the end of February 2023 with all homes installed by March 2023.
“This is the first time any program like this has ever been created,” says Mayor Michael Goetz. “The City of Merritt is creating a ground-breaking new transitional housing program that will surely set the benchmark in future flood-recovery planning. We express our appreciation to the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs for providing the financial aid to make this flood-recovery housing program possible.”
PHASE 1: INTAKE COMPLETE
Phase One of the program offers subsidized rents set at 70% of market value, plus additional financial supports provided through community partners. The program also includes services provided by Ask Wellness Housing Outreach to assist tenants in becoming better able to live independently. Intake for Phase 1 was completed December 2022.
While the City of Merritt is the registered owner of the manufactured homes, tenancy agreements will be managed by a Royal LePage property manager. Phase one residents are entitled to rent the homes at a subsidized rate of $1,300, which covers essential costs such as pad rental fees, snow removal, and lawn care. The City is paying for water, sewer, and waste collection. Renters will be responsible for paying their own utilities, insurance, moving costs, and damage deposit. While the City is technically the owner, no rental proceeds go towards City coffers.
Two community partners are also offering additional financial support. The Elizabeth Fry Society’s Rent Bank is offering a one-time grant to assist with housing costs for Phase 1 qualifying residents. Crossroads Community Church is also offering a one-time grant to each Phase 1 program participant.
Program participants may opt to buy-out the home at any time during the program at an adjusted rate, after the initial 4-month qualifying period. If participants decline the buy-out option, the homes will be sold on the open market at the end of the contract term ending December 2024, further helping to alleviate the pressure on Merritt’s stretched housing market. Residents who opt to stay must create a new rental agreement with the Diamond Vale Mobile Home & RV Park.