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More communities receive funding to assess future housing needs

More communities receive funding to assess future housing needs

January 25, 2021 at 8:42 am  BC, News, Politics

The Province is investing nearly $1 million to help another 26 communities assess and report on local housing needs, so governments can ensure they deliver homes for people in B.C. while recognizing the uniqueness of each community. 

“Local governments and First Nations play a critical role in addressing the housing crisis, and the impacts of COVID-19 on people and communities have reinforced just how important it is to support them in their efforts,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “This funding will help communities determine exactly what kind of housing people need and will support healthy and resilient communities across B.C. well into the future.”

Funding recipients are from the third intake of the Housing Needs Report Program, administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). In 2018, the Province committed $5 million over three years (2019-21) to help local governments collect and analyze housing-related data from their communities.

While First Nations have also been included in regional district housing needs reports, in 2020, the Province expanded program eligibility to B.C.’s eight Treaty First Nations. Nisga’a Lisims Government and Tsawwassen First Nation are two of the successful applicants from the third intake and will receive funding to develop their own housing needs reports.

Since the Housing Needs Report program started, a total of 138 local governments and two Treaty First Nations in B.C. have received funding to help them assess their communities’ housing needs. Under the housing needs report legislation, all local governments must produce their first housing needs report by April 2022 and every five years after that.

“The level of engagement by B.C.’s local governments with this program demonstrates the extent of housing crisis across the province,” said Brian Frenkel, president, UBCM. “Strengthening local housing needs data will assist the identification of local priorities and improve the design of provincial funding programs. UBCM is pleased to administer this program on behalf of the province.”

Completed reports are formally received by local councils and boards and made available online to anyone seeking information on local housing needs. See examples of completed housing needs reports: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/1.25.21_HNR.pdf

Quotes:

Brad West, mayor, Port Coquitlam —

“We appreciate this funding from the Province to help us better understand what kind of housing Port Coquitlam is going to need now and in years to come. This assessment, along with the work we’re already undertaking with our official community plan updates, will help ensure that we’re taking clear action to meet the diverse housing needs of all our residents and growing community.”

Peter Busse, mayor, Lillooet —

“The District of Lillooet is most grateful for the Province’s support in assuring our housing needs assessment is instituted. We view this important initiative as crucial for our strategic planning to tackle Lillooet’s present and future requirements. We will now be able to understand and better plan for the policies and appropriate development of the housing solutions to fit these needs.”

Rob Gay, board chair, Regional District of East Kootenay —

“We are grateful to Minister Osborne and to the Province of B.C. for approving this funding. It will not only help us explore how well the existing housing stock is meeting the needs of our rural communities, but will also allow us to develop plans to ensure our residents are in suitable, safe and affordable housing into the future.” 

Quick Facts:

  • More than 75% of local governments have already successfully applied for a housing needs report grant or developed housing needs reports without provincial funding.
  • Housing needs reports are another tool to help the Province work with local governments and other partners to build 114,000 new affordable homes throughout B.C. by 2028.
  • Successful applicants receive 50% of the grant funding once approved and the remaining 50% once they complete their final reporting to UBCM.

Learn More:

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

For application information on provincial funding administered by UBCM, visit:
https://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/housing-needs-report-program.html

A backgrounder follows.

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