2015 has been a busy and fulfilling year, and as the New Year approaches, we look forward to continuing to work with our community partners to help more people find a safe and affordable place to call home.
We officially opened 16 new buildings in 2015, adding more than 1,100 units of affordable housing, as well as over 100 beds for people needing mental health and addictions support. We also started construction on another 12 buildings in communities throughout B.C.
I had the pleasure of visiting many of these projects including the reopening of the former Remand Centre in Vancouver, a jail at the corner of Powell and Gore streets, now completely renovated to provide new homes for low-income adults and at-risk Aboriginal youth. The Gastown Hotel officially re-opened, the first of 13 provincially owned Single Room Occupancy hotels to be renovated in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. We also opened the first social housing building at the Little Mountain site in Vancouver and I look forward to seeing more progress on the development in the months ahead.
Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested $4.4 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families. This investment has added more than 24,750 new units of affordable housing. Over 22,000 units are complete and many more new units of housing will be opening in 2016. Over the next few months alone, we expect to officially open new buildings in Coquitlam, Creston, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Salmo and Vancouver.
Through our housing strategy, we also provide rent supplements to help people find housing in the private market. We provide rental assistance for close to 30,000 low-income seniors and working families to help them keep the cost of private market rentals more affordable.
None of this work can be accomplished without the dedication and commitment from the hundreds of non-profit providers we partner with around B.C. Together, we help more than 102,000 B.C. households with a range of housing services.
I am proud of the many accomplishments we have achieved over the past year and feel confident that we are taking steps towards a strong future with the best system of safe and affordable housing for all British Columbians.