Hearing that there is a shortage of housing on Vancouver Island wouldn’t come as a surprise to most.
But the City of Nanaimo has a better idea of exactly what kinds of housing are needed most, and what target it needs to be hitting to ensure everyone has a place to call home.
Consultants recently prepared a housing needs report for the city. It shows the city needs to add more than 1,100 homes yearly to keep up with anticipated demand.
And affordability, with a focus on families, is key.
It shows that 185 homes should have three or more bedrooms, and 525 should be rentals for households earning less than $40,000 a year.
Nanaimo’s mayor says he’s not surprised by the results.
“The value of single-value homes puts it beyond the reach of many aspiring families and many folks, and certainly, the rental market puts even one-bedroom units out of reach of many people,” said Leonard Krog.
Other housing needs identified are for seniors, families, people with disabilities and special needs, housing for Indigenous people, and youth.
The city says it is trying to make changes to help meet all of those needs.
Measures include expanding regulations to allow for more secondary suites and coach houses, finding ways to encourage infilling existing neighbourhoods and expanding the city’s rent bank and rent supplement programs.
“We are short housing in this country coast to coast to coast, and Nanaimo is no different. Indeed, we’re worse than many because we have such tremendous growth. People want to live here,” said Krog.
“Sure they want to, but finding somewhere to live continues to be a significant challenge. Now the city has a blueprint for how best to address it.”
The city is asking for feedback with an online survey that can be completed by the end of September, which can be found here.
The report comes a year after Nanaimo’s second-largest year for building permit values in 2022.