by Dan Wilson, Whistler Centre for Sustainability

Creating more affordable housing in British Columbia continues to be a hot topic these days, and many communities and individuals in BC appreciate the renewed focus on this issue from both the provincial and federal governments.

Back in May our blog addressed the fact that no one size fits all when it comes to housing policy and we shared some of the work we are doing to explore this issue further in order to bring relevant policy ideas and action to communities.  Since that time our BC Housing report on housing policy for small communities  “A Scan of Leading Practices in Affordable Housing in Small Communities” received honourable mention at the 2018 Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC) Awards for Excellence. Thanks PIBC and BC Housing!

As we noted in May, we continue to work with small communities to further explore the specific practices that work best in different community types. While each community has unique nuances to building affordable housing there is always value in pulling together similar communities in order to focus learning and implementation approaches.

Our first step in this current work further defined small communities with housing affordability issues as those:

  1. With a population of 1,000 to about 20,000 (2016 Census) and
  2. Experiencing rental/ownership challenges greater than the norm or
  3. Experiencing extreme property appreciation compared to the rest of the group

Our second step included grouping “like” communities based on the local conditions that may dictate the appropriate affordable policy choices. The groupings are below.

Our final steps include polling a few communities in each group to see what’s worked in their housing experience; linking appropriate policies to each of the groups and then delivering policy specific “How to get affordable housing” workshops this fall.

What do you think are the most effective affordable housing polices? Please share them with us so we can wrap your ideas into our workshops this fall.