Nearly 50 per cent of renters live in places they cannot afford, according to findings in a regional housing needs assessment. File photo

Assessment illustrates need for affordable housing in Courtenay

A government-mandated regional housing needs assessment underscores the need for affordable, supportive and non-market housing in the Comox Valley.

Planners presented the findings to Courtenay council June 8. The report shows the city has the highest proportion of single person households, and the highest demand for shelter assistance rate housing in the region.

Other findings are as follows, based on responses from survey participants:

•Median household incomes cannot afford median single-family and town house prices;

•Nearly 50 per cent of renters live in places they cannot afford;

•Short-term rentals grew significantly in the last four years, reaching above the regional average market share for commercial units;

•Almost one in five renters pay more than half their income on shelter costs;

•Employers find it hard to attract and retain staff due to limited, unaffordable housing;

•Non-profits and social service organizations routinely bear the cost of serving the most vulnerable residents;

•There is a great need for smaller housing units.

About one-quarter of survey respondents said they accessed housing supports, such as the food bank, in recent months. About the same number said they are considering moving from the community due to housing issues.

The report also revealed that the seniors (65-plus) population in Courtenay is growing faster than the regional average. The seniors population is estimated to reach 9,500 by 2025 — about one-third of the estimated 28,490 Courtenay residents in 2025.

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