The Comox Valley Regional District is undertaking a housing needs assessment that considers supply, demand and provision in the municipalities and rural areas.
The Province has mandated the project for all local governments in B.C.
“The work will result in a clear picture of the region’s housing supply and needs, and identify gaps in supply to meet current and projected needs based on population demographics,” said Alana Mullaly, the CVRD’s senior manager of sustainability and Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) planning.
The CVRD awarded a contract to Gather Planning and Engagement, a Victoria-based consultant. They will seek input from a number of local experts, including members of the Comox Vally Coalition to End Homelessness.
Based on discussions with its member agencies and the community, the coalition says the Valley needs three-bedroom rentals for families, pet-friendly rentals, co-op housing, Indigenous-focused housing, second-stage housing for women and children fleeing domestic violence, employee housing, accessible housing for those with disabilities, and supportive/low-barrier housing for those who are most vulnerable. A general increase in purpose-built rentals is also needed.
“While we are building housing, there is a huge gap in having a place for vulnerable people to be warm and dry during the day, which is why we are working so hard on getting a temporary warming centre for a few months this winter and a permanent day centre as quickly as possible,” coalition co-ordinator Andrea Cupelli said.
The assessment will also consider input from the CV Community Health Network, and from citizens with lived experience of core housing needs. The team will also be crunching quantitative land, housing and economic data.
“We are keen to understand how external factors influence local supply, demand and provision of housing, including housing speculation and short-term rental accommodations,” Mullaly said.
Cupelli expects the assessment will become a useful planning tool to advocate for housing needs.
“One of the number one questions we get from government and funders when asking about affordable housing is, ‘How many units are needed?’ This report will help us to answer that in a more specific manner,” she said.
An assessment summary and conclusions are expected by March.