Housing Strategy

Following the completion of the Affordable Housing Needs Assessment in May 2007, the Affordable Housing Strategy Committee of the Bowen Community Housing Association and the housing consultant turned toward developing the broad directions for a housing strategy for the community.

The first stage of the work included a review of local policies and practices, a review of other affordable housing strategies and approaches, and a working session of committee members and the consultant. The outcome was a discussion paper describing Directions for a Bowen Island Affordable Housing Strategy.

A  forum was organized in June 2007 to present the findings of the needs assessment and the draft directions discussion paper to the community, and to receive view and comments. The final strategy document includes the list of participants, and a summary of the view and comments expressed at the community forum. A presentation was also made at a meeting of Council’s Sustainable Framework Working Group, and comments received.

During the preparation of the strategy, there was an ongoing process of reporting to the community on progress through articles and flyers.

The draft Affordable Housing Strategy was presented to Council in September 2007. Council referred the strategy to staff for review, and to the Director of Finance for inclusion in the budget process for the upcoming year and the Strategic Planning process later in the month. The outcome of the discussion was the formation of the Affordable Housing Working Group in December, to whose work from 2008 to 2012 this legacy website is dedicated. The Reports to Council section of the website provides a summary of milestones as they were reported to Council.

Strategy: Goals and Actions

The strategy consists of six goals and nine actions, which together form a comprehensive approach to increasing the supply of rental and ownership housing on Bowen Island for low and moderate-income households, and for other households that are unable to find suitable housing.

The goals reflect the needs of a range of population groups and the need for a variety of housing solutions:

  1. Adequate supply of rental housing for low-income households.
  2. Adequate supply of rental housing for people with special needs.
  3. Affordable rental housing for moderate-income households.
  4. Entry-level ownership housing for moderate-income families.
  5. Diverse financing and housing options, and alternative ownership and tenure arrangements, for families, couples, singles, ‘empty nesters’ and seniors.
  6. Suitable housing and support to enable seniors to age in place.

The actions are inter-related, representing a concerted effort to focus energy on achieving all of the above goals:

  1. Form a municipally-owned not-for-profit Bowen Island Housing Corporation (BIHC) to manage, acquire and, if necessary, build perpetually affordable rental and ownership housing on Bowen Island.
  2. Obtain affordable housing through the rezoning process by the Municipality working with developers and through the use of municipal lands.
  3. Complete legalization of secondary suites on Bowen.
  4. Proceed with the second part of the recommendation of the Secondary Suites Task Force Report to legalize accessory buildings for residential purposes.
  5. Obtain Council’s commitment to adopting a proactive, ongoing affordable housing agenda.
  6. Seek partnerships through the new proposed municipal housing corporation with government, business, community organizations, employers, residents and others to create affordable rental housing.
  7. Amend the Official Community Plan to strengthen municipal support for affordable housing.
  8. Introduce innovative building forms and techniques for affordable housing.
  9. Educate the community about affordable housing needs and solutions.

Recommendations to Council

The BCHA Affordable Housing Strategy Committee made five recommendations to Council following its presentation of the draft strategy:

  1. Receive the Affordable Housing Strategy for information.
  2. Proceed without delay to establish a municipal housing corporation, an organizational structure that is widely endorsed as an effective and essential mechanism for managing, acquiring and, if necessary, building perpetually affordable rental and ownership housing. (AHS Action 1)
  3. Adopt an interim policy to ensure that re-zonings that occur prior to the establishment of the municipal housing corporation and the adoption of a comprehensive affordable housing policy be examined and considered for purposes of including units that meet affordability standards in accordance with the Needs Assessment and the Affordable Housing Strategy. (AHS Action 2)
  4. Enact the by-law to legalize secondary suites on Bowen without further delay. (AHS Action 3)
  5. Proceed with the legalization of accessory buildings for residential purposes, as recommended by the Secondary Suites Task Force. (AHS Action 4)

Documents

1. Affordable Housing Strategy: Report August 2007

2. Council (Committee of the Whole) meeting: September 17, 2007

3. Community Forum: June 24, 2007