Housing affordability and availability has been one of the topics addressed by candidates from both Prince Rupert and Port Edward, but what exactly are the challenges?
The BC Non-Profit Housing Association and Co-operative Housing Federation of BC have joined forces as Housing Central, an initiative that seeks to engage both candidates and voters on making housing a priority.
In Port Edward, the former trailer park site, where residents received eviction notices in 2014, is back up for sale. Residents who attended the all candidates forum wanted to know more about what the district was planning to do about affordable housing.
There are 130 homeowners in Port Edward and 45 renters, according to information from Housing Central, using Statistics Canada 2016 census data. The average income for a homeowner is $109,145 and $40,031 for renters. The average cost of rent and utilities is $665 a month.
In Prince Rupert, there are 2,935 homeowners and 1,975 renters. Owners make an average $107,636 a year, and renters make an average $58,150. Cost of rent and utilities is an average $863 in the city.
Central Housing also found that 45 per cent of renters are spending over 30-50 per cent of their income, before tax, on shelter costs, such as heat, electricity and other utilities.
Based on Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation standards 11 per cent of renters are living in overcrowded, unsuitable housing conditions. Port Edward’s data was not available in Housing Central’s community guide.
There are 330 non-profit housing providers across the city, according to Housing Central. These providers include M’akola Housing Society, North Coast Transition Society, Prince Rupert Senior Citizens Housing Society and Salvation Army Prince Rupert.
What can the new Prince Rupert and Port Edward council members do to address the housing challenges in their communities?
Housing Central suggests: giving public land to the community housing sector for low-cost homes, zone existing and new rental developments as rental only, streamline municipal permitting and rezoning processes to speed up affordable rental development. General voting day is Oct. 20.