New housing needs reports will help local governments and the Province better understand and respond to long-term housing needs specific to their communities.
New legislation requires local governments to collect data, analyze trends and present a report every five years that describes current and anticipated housing needs. To support the work of local governments, the Province is providing $5 million over the next three years through a program administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities, along with data and guidance to support communities’ efforts.
“Empowering communities to develop housing solutions that work for them is a key part of our government’s affordable housing strategy,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Housing needs reports will provide the information that local governments, along with the Province, need to make sure that we are all creating the right kind of homes for people living in communities throughout B.C.”
The reports will assess key housing needs, including the need for affordable housing, rental housing and homes for seniors, people with special needs, families and people at risk of homelessness. Most of the data required by local governments, such as demographics and household income levels, will be available on a single provincial website at no cost.
“Effective housing policy needs a high level of collaboration and co-operation between the various levels of governments,” said Arjun Singh, president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM). “Local governments around the province have been undertaking their own housing need studies. The new provincial requirement will increase the data available and improve its consistency among communities. UBCM is pleased to administer funding for this initiative.”
The new requirements were developed in consultation with an advisory group, including representatives from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, BC Stats, BC Housing, the Planning Institute of BC, the BC Non-Profit Housing Association and local governments.
“The District of Chetwynd is pleased to have support from the Province to work on a housing needs study," said Allen Courtoreille, mayor of Chetwynd. "As a resource community, Chetwynd faces unique housing challenges due to shifting demographics, and this is an important first step to help make sure that our young people, families and seniors have the homes they need.”
Once complete, all reports will be presented to a local government council or board. The reports will also be publicly available online to anyone seeking to better understand local housing needs.
The intake for the first round of funding is now open and successful local governments will be notified in summer 2019.
- The new housing needs requirements are based on legislation passed in May 2018 that has been brought into force by enabling regulations.
- Under the new requirements, local governments will produce their first housing needs report within the next three years and every five years after that.
- This is one more step the Province is taking to empower local governments as part of government’s 30-point housing plan. New measures like rental zoning and a review of the development approval process will also help deliver the right supply of homes that people need.
Housing needs reports requirements and supporting data and guidance: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/local-governments-and-housing/policy-and-planning-tools-for-housing/housing-needs-reports
To apply for provincial funding administered by UBCM, visit: https://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/housing-needs-report-program.html
To read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians, visit: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf