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Langley church opens 98-unit affordable housing building

Tenants are starting to arrive in early April at Jennie Gaglardi Place
Pastor Derrick Hamre toured people through the units at Jennie Gaglardi Place for its official opening on Tuesday, March 26, 2024. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

The ribbon’s been cut, the first people start to move in in early April, and the tenant applications are right inside the front door at Jennie Gaglardi Place, on the grounds of the Christian Life Assembly Church.

The building, which came in ahead of schedule and under budget, will provide homes for about 150 people in 98 units, explained Peter Fassbender, president of the Christian Life Assembly Housing Society and former Langley City mayor.

“We’re going to have a mix of seniors, young families, single individuals. We’re going to have a diverse community living in this building,” Fassbender said.

He was also on the board that built Aspire, a Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation project to provide seniors rental housing. It officially opened last summer. The Jennie Gaglardi Place ribbon cutting was held Tuesday, March 26.

As as result of both projects, Fassbender is fielding calls from other community groups and churches interested in going into housing.

“We have shown that when community gets together, we can make things happen,” he said. “We need land. Churches have land. I have churches that are calling me now and saying ‘how can we do this’.”

The building at 21201 56th Ave. is a five-storey, wood-framed building with a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom homes for households with low and moderate incomes.

The building is owned and operated by the Christian Life Assembly (CLA) Housing Society. Monthly rents range from $500 for a studio unit to $2,450 for a three-bedroom home.

The province contributed $10.7 million to the project through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund and will provide an ongoing annual operating subsidy of approximately $772,000. The CLA Housing Society contributed the land, valued at approximately $6.4 million and has a 60-year agreement with BC Housing. The Township waived approximately $3 million in fees. The federal government, through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., provided $150,000 in seed funding.

The building name was unveiled in 2022, during a service and celebration held with Gaglardi’s family and the community, to commemorate her founding of the Christian Life Assembly Church in the Township more than 85 years ago.

Jennie and Loreen Drury came to Langley in the 1930s and started the church. Gaglardi’s children and grandchildren were pleased when the housing society chose to name the building after her as she was often overshadowed by her politician husband, Flying Phil Gaglardi.

“Jennie actually started the church, and then her husband took over,” explained CLA Pastor Derrick Hamre, noting she was a trailblazer.

Family members attended the sod turning in 2022 and have visited the site since construction.

“For many people it will just be name, but for us it’s our founding pastor and for us, it’s the champion of a new generation of women,” he said.

The church will have a dedication of the new building after Easter.

Hamre said the building is intended to provide safe housing for people “in the hopes that they will find new opportunity to thrive, to know an abundant life.”

Additional features include a ground-floor amenity room, kitchen, washroom, storage room and laundry room for studio and one bedroom units, as well as exterior dining, seating and play areas. The building has underground and surface parking stalls.

Township Mayor Eric Woodward said the municipality is open to offering the same help for similar projects.

“It would be great to see more of them in the future,” he said.

While there is a great deal of home building taking place in the Township, many of the homes are not affordable for many people, he noted. He’s like to see more projects focused on non-market housing.


• READ MORE: Church celebrates 85th anniversary by naming housing after founder

• READ MORE: Seniors rental complex opened summer 2023


The official opening of Jennie Gaglardi Place included a speech by Township Mayor Eric Woodward. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Jennie Gaglardi Place is an affordable housing project on the grounds of the Christian Life Assembly Church. It was officially opened March 26, 2024. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
The Christian Life Assembly Housing Society members include (left to right) Pastor Derrick Hamre, Peter Fassbender, Ian Martens, Debbie Mohamed, and Elaine Barendregt. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

Heather Colpitts

About the Author: Heather Colpitts

Since starting in the news industry in 1992, my passion for sharing stories has taken me around Western Canada.
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