Select Page

Affordable accessible housing offers independence for locals.

When Sea to Sky Community Services (SSCS) began accepting applications for 76 market rentals, rent geared to income, and deep subsidy units at Spirit Creek Apartments, we were overwhelmed by the interest. Located in the Dentville neighbourhood, adjacent to downtown Squamish, affordability and accessibility are two strong assets of Spirit Creek.

Mat Andrew is one of our newest tenants and he has made his home in one of the subsidized, accessible apartments. “It’s amazing,” he shares. “Since my accident, most of the places I’ve lived in haven’t been very accessible, the doorways have been very narrow, Spirit Creek is a real change.” Mat was injured in a mountain biking accident in 2020. He’s now in a wheelchair and unable to work in the way he did before. His home at Spirit Creek is the first time Mat’s been able to live alone since his accident and he’s enjoying his independence.

“To live independently in accessible and affordable housing is amazing. It’s just getting so expensive and unmanageable for a lot of people, especially in my situation,” Mat explains. “Being here makes my life just so much better, not having to stress about housing and being able to focus on being independent.”

Accessible, affordable housing is critical to ensuring a diverse and equitable community – something Sea to Sky Community Services aspires to do. For many SSCS tenants, the comfort of housing security allows them to focus on other aspects of life; freeing up time to create connections and build community.

“When we opened the Spirit Creek Apartments to tenants in April of 2023 we filled the units very slowly, three per day. We wanted everyone moving in to start there with a good experience and I think it worked,” explains Pam ​Razzano, SSCS Housing Coordinator. “Having only a few people moving in per day created an opportunity for tenants to be more neighbourly. People were patient with each other because they had a lot of time. They didn’t feel stressed, overwhelmed or rushed. And I think our approach worked. It created a lot of friendships, more than just neighbours.”

“It’s been really nice. I’ve met all different kinds of people, and everyone’s been helpful and offered to help one another if they ever need,” Mat shares. He enjoys being close to Foundry Sea to Sky and not far from downtown shopping and amenities. This community focused environment not only offers convenience but a sense of safety. “I could fall out of the wheelchair or just need help so it’s nice having people around and being able to easily get myself around. It’s a bit of a push into town, but it’s flat and I need exercise, so that’s good!” he laughs.

“It’s lovely to see kids knock on their neighbour’s door and ask a friend to come down and shoot hoops,” continues Razzano. “I’ve been surprised to see how fast friendships have formed. They’re out there shooting hoops and the littler ones are going to the park or in the community garden. It’s a great spot for some of our residents who aren’t able to work or not able to leave their home for different reasons. Everyone has a different story, but to be able to be down there and independent is great. It is a very safe environment and really works for some of our clients to feel like they’re contributing to the community.”

Spirit Creek Apartments is a partnership between several community partners. The apartments are managed and operated by Sea to Sky Community Services. The project was delivered in partnership with the District of Squamish and BC Housing to provide homes for low to moderate-income families and individuals. The 76 units include 12 studios, 48 one-bedroom units, and 16 two-bedroom units. “Housing is such a challenge right now, especially in the rental market. We’ve still got a waitlist,” says Razzano. “We could fill another two buildings.”

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 succeed, grow and live in dignity. Yet according to Jill Atkey, CEO of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association, the Squamish housing market is at a crisis level.  “People really are at risk of homelessness. And it just takes one forced move, or one missed paycheque — if you’re sick or taking care of a family member — for your life to unravel almost entirely by becoming homeless. There’s such a real risk to a fair number of households in Squamish” says Atkey.

In addition to providing 232 affordable market rentals, rent geared to income, and deep subsidy rental units in Squamish, Sea to Sky Community Services also offers homeless prevention and outreach services throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor.  By making a financial contribution to SSCS today, you can help strengthen and build healthier communities throughout the Corridor.  Donate today.