The Columbia Valley Community Directed Funds Committee has made its first funding allocation, giving $30,000 to the Invermere Family Resource Centre.

The centre will use the money to complete a need and demand study for affordable housing in Invermere, Radium, Canal Flats and Regional District of East Kootenay areas F and G — essentially the entire Upper Columbia Valley.

“The family resource centre was excited to hear of the award of the funds,” said the centre’s executive director Pat Cope. “This study will demonstrate the level of need and demand for affordable housing in the valley, an issue that has for many years affected many families in the area, as well as the business community and our local economy.”

The Directed Funds Committee will be allocating up to $200,000 a year for the next three years for projects that have positive socio-economic impacts on the valley.

“The committee decided to allocate $30,000 to the Family Resource Centre because their project was ready to proceed,” said committee chair and RDEK director for Area F Wendy Booth. “Affordable housing was identified as a priority in our community priorities plan, which had valley-wide input.”

The centre is undertaking the survey and will respond to a request for proposal for affordable housing projects issued by B.C. Housing, the provincial housing authority.

“We are all aware of the challenges presented in the valley due to the lack of  affordable housing options,” said Cope in a press release, adding that the funding for the study will also help identify potential ways to address the issue.

The committee is made up of five elected officials and four members of the public. Its next meeting is Tuesday, June 11th at 9:30 a.m. at the Windermere Fire Hall. There may be further funding allocations announced at the meeting.

At the committee’s last meeting it heard from three other groups seeking funding — the Columbia River Greenways Alliance, the Windermere Valley Food Corridor Project and the Columbia Cultural Tourism