Housing affordability continues to be an important issue and a priority for the region. The Capital Regional District’s (CRD) Regional Housing Affordability Strategy (RHAS) has now been updated to reflect the CRD’s evolving role and identify ways to better respond to changing housing market conditions and new developments in government housing programs and policies.
The CRD Board has approved an updated Regional Housing Affordability Strategy (RHAS) at its May 9, 2018 meeting. The strategy outlines five key goals:
- Goal #1 Build the right supply of housing across the spectrum.
- Goal #2 Sustain a shared regional response to existing and emerging housing demand.
- Goal #3 Protect and maintain existing non-market and market rental housing stock.
- Goal #4 Develop and operationalize a regionally coordinated housing and homelessness response.
- Goal #5 Create community understanding and support for affordable housing developments.
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Originally approved in 2001, the RHAS was updated in 2007 and has provided the framework that supports current CRD policies, programs, services and initiatives in the area of housing development and affordability.
This most recent review is based on an analysis of local incomes and housing costs as well as an examination of best practices to achieve improved housing affordability across the spectrum, including home ownership. The review is also informed by input from a broad range of stakeholders with interests in affordable housing.
On June 16, 2017 the CRD hosted a full-day engagement session focused on creating a renewed vision and identifying key priorities for a fully revised and updated Regional Housing Affordability Strategy. The event was sponsored by CMHC, BC Housing, UDI Victoria, the Victoria Residential Builders Association and Victoria Real Estate Board. Over 160 participants representing industry, municipalities, electoral areas, non-profits, other levels of government and community groups gathered to discuss current issues and pressures in the housing market and identify opportunities for new investment in affordable housing.
Through dynamic and engaging activities, participants were able to assess the impact of the current RHAS, identity important issues and gaps in affordability as well as outline what they see as key priorities to consider in the revised RHAS. The day also included the opportunity for everyone to identify recommended actions for improving housing affordability in the region. The day’s work was captured by a Graphic Facilitator, who compiled all activities into colourful illustrations. See the Visual Report for an overview of the event. The outputs from the day’s activities added to research and analysis completed by the consulting team, all of which have fed into the creation of the updated RHAS.
The renewed RHAS better defines the role and outlines specific strategies for the CRD to consider in relation to its member municipalities and electoral areas as well as other levels of government, the housing industry and community groups and organizations. It proposes targets for the CRD to consider in its efforts to measure the effectiveness of the renewed RHAS, and recommends a framework for evaluating progress.
- Since 2007, the Regional Housing Trust Fund has allocated over $11 million in grants to build over 900 units of affordable and supportive housing in the region.
- The CRD contributes $225,000 per year in operating funding to the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, an initiative that has helped expand and better coordinate action to address homelessness to the entire region.
- The CRD owns the Capital Regional Housing Corporation (CRHC), which works in partnership with community organizations and other orders of government to develop and operate affordable housing. The CRHC today operates over 1,200 housing units, of which 70% are subsidized.
In 2016, the CRD approved the Regional Housing First Program, a partnership between BC Housing, Island Health and the CRD to invest $60 million in the development of new housing units specifically designated for people who experience chronic homelessness in the region.