Provincial funds help municipalities assess housing needs

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Provincial funding will help local governments in six B.C. communities, including Nanaimo, report on their housing needs to support development of more diverse and affordable homes.

“Local governments and First Nations know their communities best, and they are essential partners in addressing the housing crisis,” said Josie Osborne, minister of municipal affairs. “This funding enables them to determine specifically the kind of homes people in their regions need, so they can use this information to support their planning and decision-making.”

The province committed $5 million under the Housing Needs Report Program to help local governments and First Nations collect and analyze housing-related data from their communities between 2019–2021.

“The lack of affordable housing and the need for additional supportive housing options are common to many B.C. communities, but the specific needs vary considerably from one place to the next,” said Brian Frenkel, president of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). “The Housing Needs Report Program is designed to strengthen the data available to inform local decision-making to ensure that new developments, whether market-based or supportive, address the needs of communities today and tomorrow.”

Under the housing needs report legislation, all local governments must produce their first housing needs report by April 2022 and every five years after. The reports help local governments to better understand their current and future housing needs and provide stakeholders, developers and other agencies with access to better information for making housing investment decisions.

The communities receiving grants totalling nearly $185,000 are:

  • Nanaimo ($50,000);
  • Radium Hot Springs ($15,000);
  • Strathcona Regional District, including four electoral areas ($60,000);
  • Tumbler Ridge ($14,563);
  • Valemount ($15,000); and
  • West Kelowna ($30,000).

“On behalf of Nanaimo city council, we are pleased to be receiving provincial support to update our housing needs assessment, which will help us to better understand the impact of the pandemic on our community and to enable a more resilient recovery,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog.

Completed reports are formally received by local councils and boards and made available online to anyone seeking information about local housing needs. Local governments are required to consider their most recent housing needs report when developing new official community plans or regional growth strategies.

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