Where is below-market and supportive housing going?


Where is below-market and supportive housing going? I’m looking forward to finding out from the next Housing Targets list from the BC Government – expected later this year.

On September 26, the Government released its first list, with targets for ten local governments. The headlines were focussed on the total numbers – Victoria 4,902 homes, Vancouver 28,900, etc. Here is that now familiar list:

  • City of Abbotsford – 7,240 housing units
  • City of Delta – 3,607 housing units
  • City of Kamloops – 4,236 housing units
  • District North Vancouver – 2,838 housing units
  • District of Oak Bay – 664 housing units
  • City of Port Moody – 1,694 housing units
  • District of Saanich – 4,610 housing units
  • City of Vancouver – 28,900 housing units
  • City of Victoria – 4,902 housing units
  • District of West Vancouver – 1,432 housing units

What didn’t get as much media coverage was the details – the guidelines on the breakdown of type of units, including:

  • units by size (studio / 1-bed, 2-bed, 3-bed);
  • tenure (rental/owned);
  • rate (below market / market); and,
  • supportive rental units.

Here are the detailed numbers:

I want to address a couple of areas – below market housing and supportive housing.

Below market housing is a broad term that generally includes “affordable housing” (by most definitions, housing that costs below 30% of median household income), deeply affordable housing, rent-geared-to-income housing, home ownership programs that set costs at 20% below market, etc.

Supportive housing is housing with supports, generally operated by non-profit housing providers and funded with provincial dollars. Here is how BC Housing describes it:

“Supportive housing is subsidized housing with on-site supports for single adults, seniors and people with disabilities at risk of or experiencing homelessness. These supports help people find and maintain stable housing. … Supportive housing provides a range of on-site, non-clinical supports such as: life skills training, connections to health care, mental health or substance-use services. Staff are on-site 24/7 to provide support.”

– BC Housing, Supportive Housing

As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, e.g. on this blog, Victoria has asked approved a lot of affordable housing and supportive housing.

However, it’s now clear that other local governments will need to make fair contributions as well. Some are already stepping forward, which is encouraging. All of them need to step forward, and more quickly.

Here are the above-noted numbers – so far – for below market housing and supportive housing in the Greater Victoria region:

  • Oak Bay:  Below Market 141;  Supportive 20
  • Saanich:  Below Market 1,161;  Supportive 131
  • Victoria:  Below Market 1,798;  Supportive 102

As I noted above, the Government will soon come out with its next list of cities and their housing targets. So there will be more cities with numbers.

I will be watching closely to see those below-market and supportive housing numbers throughout the Greater Victoria region, the Central and North Island, and other regions in the province.