Townhouses under construction. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress file)

New housing reports will add to data Chilliwack is already collecting

Province of B.C. is providing funding to help communities collect and analyze housing data

Chilliwack already uses growth projections and other planning tools to calculate its housing needs for years to come.

But under new provincial legislation, a special “housing needs report” will have to be submitted every five years by B.C. municipalities, with funding up for grabs now to help communities undertake the work.

“This process will help quantify the housing needs of Chilliwack for the next 10 to 15 years,” said Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove.

Mayor Popove said it will likely mean additional data and analysis, as well as more consistency. City of Chilliwack will be applying for the $50,000 grant to hire a consultant with expertise in the area of housing needs assessment.

“It will fall in line with the seniors’ housing study that is ongoing as well,” Popove said.

With seniors as one of the fastest growing demographics, it is a key area of planning.

“This new report will run the full gamut of different housing needs,” Popove said.

The reports are expected to cover a community’s future and anticipated housing needs, including affordable housing, rental housing and homes for seniors, special needs, families and people at risk of homelessness.

“Empowering communities to develop housing solutions that work for them is a key part of our government’s affordable housing strategy,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Housing needs reports will provide the information that local governments, along with the Province, need to make sure that we are all creating the right kind of homes for people living in communities throughout B.C.”

To support cities doing this work, the province is allocating $5 million over three years through the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

The new requirement will have city governments collecting data and analyzing trends in a formal report in three years, and then every five years after that.

READ MORE: Chilliwack undertakes seniors’ housing study

Chilliwack has a “pretty good idea of the need in this area” the mayor said and it’s heartening that the provincial government is also forging ahead strategically planning in this way for future housing needs of all kinds.

The intake for the first round of funding is now open and successful applicants will be notified in summer 2019. First reports are due in April 2022, and every five years after that.

To see housing needs reports requirements and supporting data and guidance: Policy and planning tools

Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability: Plan for Housing

READ MORE: Planning for affordability by 2030


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