Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Provincial government now requiring municipalities to create housing needs report

This year, the provincial government introduced new tools and requirements to help local governments support the creation of affordable housing in communities throughout BC. One of the new tools available is rental zoning. This new zoning power will allow municipalities to designate sections of neighborhoods, streets, or buildings for rental-only. You can read more about this new zoning power in a previous blog post that I wrote.

A new requirement placed on local governments is the creation of a housing needs report. This new report once created will need to be updated every five years, and include the following information:

  • Current and projected population
  • Current and projected household incomes
  • Information about the local economy
  • Number of currently available or in-stream housing units, including information about the type of unit
  • Number of housing units needed to meet the current demand, by type of unit
  • Number of housing units to meet the projected needs of the population over the next five years.

The provincial government plans to develop more detailed regulations on how the report should be formatted. For example, the regulation will hopefully define what level of detail is required for “type of unit.”

In Metro Vancouver, our regional growth strategy already contains information about what sort of housing is required based on tenure and household income.

Housing Demand Estimates by Tenure and Household Income for Metro Vancouver Subregions and Municipalities (2016-2026 Estimates). Source: Metro Vancouver.

For example, it is projected that Langley City will require 1,300 units of housing that will be for people to buy, and 700 units of housing for people to rent, between 2016 and 2026. In Metro Vancouver, we already consider this information as all municipal official community plans must line up with the regional growth strategy.

We know that we need to create around 420 units of housing in Langley City for households that earn less than $30,000 per year between 2016 and 2026 according to our regional growth strategy. The new housing needs report requirement will likely require us to spell out in more detail how we will get those 420 units.

For example, it might state that Langley City will advocate to BC Housing on behalf of current non-profit housing providers for more and renewed units of subsidized housing. It might also state that the City will wave development permit fees for subsidized housing projects.

Another example for Langley City might be calling out how rental zoning will support getting us to the 700 new units of rental required for our community between 2016 and 2026.

The new provincial requirement for a housing needs report will not create more affordable housing in our province. The report will bring to the surface where housing demand does not match housing provided. This should help municipalities better advocate to the federal and provincial governments for housing funding and support. It should also help municipalities update zoning and policies to support housing option for all people in a community.

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