RDN to create regional strategy on affordable housing

Initiative prompted by new National Housing Strategy direction

The Regional District of Nanaimo will pursue a collaborative approach to addressing short- and long-term housing needs in the region.

The initiative was prompted by the new National Housing Strategy direction that emphasizes partnership to deal with the current crisis in housing that’s happening all over the region and the country.

The NHS stressed that all levels of governments, along with developers and non-profit groups and organizations, have a role to play to reduce homelessness and improve the availability and quality of housing for people in need.

RDN senior planner Jamai Schile indicated the regional district along with local governments have a unique opportunity to redefine their role to consider what approach is most suitable to meet the current and future housing needs in their area.

The RDN’s housing needs overview conducted in 2009, the shortage of affordable housing in the regional district was traditionally been attributed to the widening gap between the cost of housing relative to incomes and shortage of adequate rental stock. It continues to persist, according to the 2016 census data, and is on the rise due to escalating housing costs in the region. Between 2015 and 2017 the average price for a single residential dwelling increased from $404,700 to $548,378 for Parksville Qualicum Beach, an increase of 36 per cent.

RELATED: Nanaimo’s affordable housing strategy addresses struggles that renters face

RELATED: Nanaimo’s affordable housing crunch squeezes university students

Of the 50,930 owner households in the region 8,149, or 16 per cent of households, spent 30 per cent or more on shelter compared to 17 per cent on Vancouver Island. Of the 17,830 renter households 8,558 or 48 per cent spent 30 per cent or more on shelter compared to 45 per cent on Vancouver Island. As a result, the Canadian Rental Index places the region fifth in a list of ‘top 10 most critical scores’ when compared to other regional districts in B.C.

To better understand the housing need, the B.C. Non-profit Housing Association published a report estimating the current need for housing in B.C. broken down by region.

The current rental supply backlog in the RDN is 1,779 units, and that includes core housing need households with an average income $18,501 and middle income households with an average income $51,978. The report also provides a break down of the total average annual investment needed to support current and future affordable housing supply needs. In the RDN, it is estimated that the annual cost is $68 million, of which 25 per cent ($17 million) is considered the community’s share.

The RDN board has now given staff direction to pursue a regional approach that will focus on partnership development and creation of a regional affordable housing service and reserve fund.

Just Posted

House fire in Nanaimo earlier this month being investigated as suspicious

Nanaimo Fire Rescue hands over Palomino Place house fire investigation to RCMP

Young jiu-jitsu athletes win medals on the mat

Nanaimo’s Island Top Team athletes fare well at Richmond tournament

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Snowbirds’ militarism shouldn’t be celebrated

The public has accepted this military demonstration team as benign entertainment, says letter writer

Hundreds of Kin club members meeting in Nanaimo this week

Service club holding national convention Aug. 21-24

Stretch of Departure Bay Road to be closed until month’s end for road work

Slope stabilization taking place between Newton Street and Little John Way

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

Telus customers enraged as outage hits fifth day

Telus.net has been down since Aug. 15

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Most Read