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Posted: February 27, 2020

Local municipalities get funds to plan for housing

The provincial government announced today it is spending $1.7 million to help communities collect and analyze data on their housing needs so governments can deliver the right kind of homes for people in B.C.

Six East Kootenay communities are among the 50 municipalities and regional districts to receive funds, including: Village of Canal Flats -$15,000; District of Elkford: $15,000; City of Fernie- $20,0000; District of Invermere- $15,000; City of Kimberley- $20,000; and District of Sparwood- $15,000.

The data will inform housing needs reports, which will identify community housing needs, such as affordable housing, rental housing, seniors’ housing, as well as housing for people at risk of homelessness, families and people with special needs. The reports will also help local governments support local economic growth by assessing future employment-housing needs, stated a Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing media release.

“Housing needs reports are a way to gather important information as we partner with local governments to create the right housing for people in communities of all sizes around the province,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The wave of enthusiasm and interest in applying for this grant tells us that local governments are eager to collect this information to help them build vibrant, thriving communities.”

In 2018, the province announced a $5 million investment over three years (2019-21) to help local governments collect and analyze data about their communities. The data is then combined with provincial data about household income and demographics to complete a housing needs report. The reports will help inform council decisions about development proposals and help determine what kind of housing is needed in neighbourhoods. Thirty-one applications were approved for this year’s funding allocation. The fund is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM).

“This program is strengthening the data available on the housing supply in communities and its alignment with the current and projected needs of our residents,” said Maja Tait, mayor of Sooke and UBCM president. “Better data brings greater certainty about the types of homes that are most needed now and in coming years as demographics and populations change. I appreciate the provincial government’s continuing support to improve housing data in B.C.”

Many of the successful applicants submitted proposals that include engagement with First Nations, neighbouring communities, housing providers and other stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the housing needs for their community.

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