B.C. housing report shows need for more diversity

One of the projects is an 87-unit building for seniors, people with disabilities and multi-generational families at 371 Alberni Highway, Parksville, next to the Quality Foods currently under construction. The development will be between Quality Foods and a section of green space. // PHOTO BY Kevin Forsyth
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Over 600 new affordable rental homes are on the way for British Columbians with low-to-moderate incomes through the provincial government’s community housing fund.

“We are hearing loud and clear there is a crisis among working people who need decent housing that is affordable and meets their needs, whether it be for sale or for rent. It is simply not available,” said Joy MacPhail, chair of the Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability.

One of the projects is an 87-unit building for seniors, people with disabilities and multi-generational families at 371 Alberni Highway, Parksville, next to the Quality Foods currently under construction. 

The project is being funded by BC Housing, but once built it will become the property of the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society. Construction is set to begin in the spring, according to Andrea Blakeman, the society’s chief executive officer. 

“We will be the owners and operators and therefore decision-makers on who lives there,” said Blakeman.

The B.C. government’s Community Housing Fund will also build 53 homes for seniors, people with disabilities and families in Nanaimo.

The province has invested $1.9 billion in the fund, with a goal of building 14,000 mixed-income rental homes for low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Over 5,700 homes have been built or begun construction in the last two and a half years, according to the province.

The province found over 70 per cent of 2,000 respondents to its housing study believe more government action is important to improving the housing situation.

The What We Heard report also found British Columbians want more diversity in the type of housing available and to see government housing projects completed faster. Projects can become stuck for years in the approval process and the delays create uncertainty and increase costs, according to the report.

“We can no longer rely predominantly on single-family detached housing to meet our needs. We need housing that is attainable by all income earners,” it said.

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