PEACE REGION -- Homeowners in the Peace River Region District can now qualify for funding under the Secondary Suites Incentive Program.

Offered by BC Housing, the SSIP helps homeowners create affordable housing in communities across the province.

It was expanded to allow homeowners in Peace Region to receive a maximum of $40,000 in forgivable loans to retrofit their dwelling with affordable rental units as the province takes steps to meet housing demand.

“Rural homeowners who want to create a rental suite and people looking for affordable homes in rural B.C. will home more options,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development Roly Russell in a release.

The three-year pilot project introduced in April of 2023 allocates $91 million for the building of 1,000 rental units per year over the course of the program. 

In order to qualify for the funding, homeowners must be Canadian citizens and the registered owners who live in the property as their primary home.

They must also have a household income of less than $209,420, and units must be rented out below the market value rate for at least five years.

BC Housing has also released a guideline called "Home Suite Home" that outlines the steps that need to be taken when building and managing tenants in secondary units.

“The housing crisis affects all corners of the province. Giving people more options and support is important, and adding below-market rental suites and accessory units will help rural people and communities everywhere,” said Russell.