Townhouses under construction as part of the Emmaus Place affordable housing project in Langley Township on Nov. 13, 2019. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Affordable housing for Langley seniors to open by early 2021

Emmaus Place is a partnership between a local church and goverment agencies

An affordable housing project for seniors and families will open early in 2021, said the pastor whose church donated the land and is overseeing the project.

Provincial and local politicians joined Pastor Kristen Steele at the official announcement of the project on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

There will be 70 apartment units for seniors and 12 townhouses for families when Emmaus Place, adjacent to the Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in the 20000-block of 72nd Avenue is complete, said Steele.

The congregation has long wanted to do something for seniors housing with all the extra land adjacent to their 72nd Avenue church, the pastor said.

“It has been a dream since they purchased the property in the 1980s,” Steele said.

Members of the congregation check up on the progress every Sunday, she noted.

“It’s sometimes hard to believe that what you see behind us is actually happening,” Steele said, gesturing to the construction work.

The project is a partnership between the church, the provincial government, and Catalyst Community Developments Society, with donations and assistance from other groups.

Township Mayor Jack Froese noted that Quadra Homes donated $400,000 to the project, and the Township’s new policy to waive development cost charges for affordable housing construction is being used for the first time on Emmaus Place.

The province provided $8.7 million and construction financing for the project, with the church providing land.

Vancity Community foundation also contributed.

When finished, the units will be rented to people who have lower incomes, including single seniors, couples, and families in the townhomes.

Rents are expected to start at $650 to $900 per month for the studio apartments, and range from $850 to $1,200 per month for one-bedroom units.

Based on the principle that rent shouldn’t cost more than 30 per cent of income, the units will mostly go to people or families making between $28,000 to $58,000 a year.

Froese emphasized that the hard work and passion of the church’s members was what pushed the project through.

“Right now they’re just buildings,” Froese said. “But they’re going to become homes.”

The project is named Emmaus Place after the story from the Gospel of Luke, in which Jesus, after his resurrection, appeared to two disciples, but they did not recognize him until Jesus broke bread with them, after which “their eyes were opened.”

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