Over its 25-year history, the non-profit Hornby Island Elder Housing Society has created and maintained safe, comfortable and affordable rental housing for Hornby elders. The Village provides eleven small homes designed specifically for elders in a neighbourly setting, located close to Hornby’s Co-op centre.
Hornby Island has a long history of self sufficiency. When the Hornby community required a new community hall, a new school building, or a new health clinic, the community pitched in together to design and build what was needed. The response to a need for housing for Hornby’s elders has followed the same path. From the beginning, the Society’s aims and achievements have been driven by passionate, committed community members who have dedicated incalculable hours to make The Village a reality. Many, many enthusiastic community members have served on the Board of Directors, taking an active, hands-on role in the construction and operation of The Village.
Rental affordability has always been a top priority. And, in “the Hornby way,” affordability was achieved with creativity. In the building phases, community members volunteered their architectural, engineering and construction knowledge. Concept and design has been all volunteer. The UBC School of Architecture offered three sessions of Design/Build courses, and teams of students gained hands-on construction experience and skills building units in The Village. Throughout its history, the management of The Village has been carried out on a volunteer basis by the Board of Directors.
Community members have supported the project over the decades with no-interest loans, donations and fundraising events. Paid work carried out by Hornby’s excellent builders and tradespeople has been financed with conventional mortgages. The province of BC provided a one-time grant of $96,000 in 2008. Generous support over the years has also been provided by the Hornby Island Community Fund, the Comox Valley Community Fund, and the Comox Valley Regional District.
Full occupancy and an enthusiastic waiting list has proven the value of the housing that the Society has been able to create. Community support and engagement will keep The Village vital far into the future.