The City of Duncan will consider its needs around affordable housing after a presentation from an official from BC Housing on Jan. 21.
Council voted to direct staff to include a potential development of an affordable housing project on city-owned land during upcoming discussions around strategic planning after Kirsten Baillie, BC Housing’s development manager, told council members about upcoming funding and partnership options.
Baillie said the province’s budget for 2018 included $7 billion over the next 10 years that will be directed toward affordable housing projects.
“That’s the biggest amount ever seen put towards these housing projects,” she said.
“We anticipate that there will be a funding call for these funds in 2020, and we’re advising municipalities and other partners that this a good time to start establishing some regional partners for possible projects, work with BC Housing to determine desired approaches, determine the target clientele in each community and begin site selection for possible projects.”
Statistics Canada benchmarks affordable housing as costing 30 per cent of a person’s income or less, and reported last year that nearly a quarter of Canadians spent more.
The housing situation in B.C. as of 2018 saw an estimated 7,000 people living on the streets and a need for more than 100,000 units of market housing to compensate for 25 years of, what critics say, is missing government investment in social housing.
Increasing the province’s housing supply was part of the NDP minority government’s confidence and supply agreement with the B.C. Green party to form the government after the last provincial election in 2017.
Baillie said ongoing housing shortages, chronic overcrowding and substandard housing conditions have a direct impact on socio-economic and health problems among the province’s population.
She said it’s been determined that housing is needed along the whole housing continuum in B.C., from emergency shelters on one end to affordable home ownership at the other end.
Baillie said the funding for housing projects from the program will be geared towards families, seniors, women and children affected by violence, supportive housing for people struggling with homelessness and indigenous people.
Baillie said that once a need has been determined in a community and an acceptable site for a possible housing project has been identified, then final preparations can begin for the funding call in 2020.
“We love working with municipalities because they make great partners,” she said.
“Municipalities have the ability to create policies to facilitate the delivery of affordable housing, like reducing waivers and development fees, as well as reducing the timelines of the application processes in their jurisdictions.”