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Housing Needs Assessment

Building in Sidney

Housing Needs Assessments (HNA) are a way for communities to better understand their current and future housing needs. These reports can help identify existing and projected gaps in housing supply by collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative information about local demographics, economics, housing stock, and other factors.

Sidney's Housing Needs Assessment was completed in October 2019. On November 4th, the Town's consultant presented the findings of the report to Council. You can view a video that presentation here and view the presentation slides here. Highlights of the HNA Report and information from the accompanying Staff Report are presented below. In addition, you can find background information on the Town's HNA towards the bottom of this page.

HNA Report Highlights

  • Broadly speaking, Sidney is well served in terms of the variety of housing types available in the community. With the exception of apartments over 5 storeys, Sidney compares favourably to the CRD in terms of the amount of each type of housing available.
  • However, like other communities in the CRD, Sidney suffers from both high real estate prices as well as high rents, making many housing choices unaffordable across the entire spectrum of household types, for both renters and owners alike (based on average incomes vs. average prices/rents).
  • In terms of home ownership, the average single-family home is considered unaffordable for every type of average household income, including the highest-earning group, Couples with children.
  • The average renter in Sidney faces high rents as well; however, Couples, both with and without children, are still able to afford average rents. Lone-parent families and individuals face affordability challenges and a rent gap (i.e. average incomes are lower than average rents).
  • Sidney appears to be building enough housing to meet its population growth expectations; however, the majority of housing being built is directed at wealthier households.
  • The largest category of unmet housing demand currently is below-market rentals, at approximately 400 units (estimated). This does not include anticipated future demand.
  • Lone-parent households in particular face affordability challenges.

 

Next Steps

  • Development Proposals
    The HNA can be utilized to identify specific gaps in the housing supply that need to be filled, and the Town will work with developers and non-profit housing providers to deliver this targeted supply to the market.
  • Comprehensive Review of the OCP
    As housing supply is a critical part of the solution to meeting future housing demand, the HNA will be analyzed as part of the upcoming comprehensive OCP review to evaluate the degree to which the Town’s land use plan can meet the housing needs identified by the HNA. Furthermore, recommendations in the HNA report will be analyzed for inclusion into a housing-specific section of an updated OCP to provide specific housing policy guidance for the Town going forward.
  • Ongoing Monitoring of Housing Supply and Demand
    Provincial requirements stipulate that a HNA must be updated every 5 years. Keeping the HNA up to date will allow the Town to periodically take stock of housing demand and supply in the community, undertake a critical review of housing policy with those factors in mind, and adjust accordingly.

 

HNA Background Information

In 2018 the Provincial Government amended the Local Government Act to make the preparation and consideration of a Housing Needs Assessment mandatory prior to the development of an Official Community Plan (OCP). With Sidney in the initial planning stages of a comprehensive OCP review, Council directed staff to proceed with the preparation of a HNA in May 2019.

Following an open Request for Proposals (RFP) process, in June 2019 Council awarded the contract for the HNA project to Urban Matters CCC, for a contract price of $28,870. The Town was also successful in a grant application through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) for partial project funding of $20,000. The remainder of the project balance is being funded through OCP Review project funds.

Together, legislation and regulations specify requirements for local government related to housing needs reports. These requirements include:

  • Collecting information to identify current and projected housing needs
  • Using that information to prepare and publish an online housing needs report which shows current and projected housing needs for at least the next five years
  • Considering the most recently collected information and housing needs report when amending official community plans and regional growth strategies

 

Contact Information

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact:
Corey Newcomb
Senior Manager of Long Range Planning
cnewcomb@sidney.ca
250-655-5428