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Housing a ‘huge relief’ for many Spirit Creek Residents

When Katie Coombs went on medical leave from work in October 2020, housing affordability was only one of the worries on her mind. With disability payments as her main source of income, and the rising cost of local rental rates, Katie was unsure if she’d be able to stay in the community she’s lived in since 2012.

“It was February 2021 when I found out about the new housing development at Spirit Creek. I applied and was really hopeful, but also really worried because the need and demand for housing right now is so big,” she explains. “I got the email that I had been accepted to Spirit Creek at the end of August last year, days before I was going to be homeless. I cried. It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.”

Katie’s unit is one of 76 new affordable housing units at Spirit Creek Apartments, operated by Sea to Sky Community Services. The four stories of affordable housing are located above the new Foundry Sea to Sky and provides access to a playground, skateboard park, basketball court, and a shared community garden. Katie enjoys the central and relatively flat location of her new home, having previously lived in hilly parts of the community where she struggled to get around easily.

“Being downtown is a huge benefit for the residents of Spirit Creek, especially those that don’t drive. Many residents used to live further out of the downtown area and being able to hop on public transportation or being able to run to the store if they need something is a great convenience,” says Pam​ Razzano, SSCS Housing Coordinator.

A sense of community has grown quickly between neighbours within the Spirit Creek Apartments. Many help out with the community garden, watering, weeding and working collaboratively with the youth who participate in Sea to Sky Foundry and Youth Hub programs. “It’s really a community as opposed to just an apartment building” says Razzano.

Katie agrees, “Everyone is so friendly. It seems the more I talk to my neighbours, the more I get the sense we’re all in similar situations and we’re able to take a sigh of relief. Everyone wants to help each other and be there for each other. I look around and I feel so lucky. We’ve even started a group for health challenges and other ways to support one another”.

“The area feels really safe and peaceful,” continues Katie. “I love how they’ve planted trees, created gardens and done landscaping. It’s feeling like home and that’s the vibe a lot of people in the area have right now. It’s so nice to finally have somewhere that’s safe, where we can come and go knowing it’s our own space.”

Affordable housing is essential to the health and well-being of our community. Having a sustainable and safe place to call home offers families and individuals opportunities to thrive, grow and live in dignity. When you donate to SSCS, you’re helping to strengthen and build healthier communities throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor. Donate today.