Temporary housing arrives in Merritt, B.C. for 2021 flood victims

Much-needed housing has arrived in Merritt, B.C., to help the community that is still recovering from the catastrophic flooding of November 2021.

Thirty-one modular homes have been delivered to the city as part of the Transitional Evacuee Manufactured Home Program, which was implemented in the fall of 2022, as a temporary stop-gap solution.

“We needed housing quickly. If you are relying on contractors to build 31 houses in 18 months, it’s never going to happen,” said Merritt Mayor Michael Goetz.

“We had to go with the manufactured homes.”

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The City of Merritt is spending the bulk of  $8.5 million in provincial funding to provide the homes.  About 130 families were identified as candidates to move away from emergency support with 20 families ultimately going ahead with the program.

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The families will pay $1,300 a month in subsidized rent plus utilities.

There will be an option of purchasing the homes at the end of the two-year program, but if they remain unsold, the homes will be used to boost housing options for everyone in Merritt.

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“It was a lot of gears turning, and a lot of really smart people — past council and present council to get it done,” Goetz said.

“Very proud (of the work done).”

While the homes are essential in reshaping the community, there are still challenges to protecting them from another round of flooding. None of the dykes have been upgraded and the river bank remains exactly in the same state it was left after the devastating floods.

The municipality is looking to senior levels of government to approve the necessary funding to fix the banks and dykes.

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