Our priority is to help ensure residents have access to housing that meets their needs.
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Housing Initiatives Strategic Framework 2016/17–2019/20
Housing is essential for healthy and resilient communities. As a result of region-wide consultations in 2014 and 2015, affordable housing was identified as a clear need in the Basin and the Trust established affordable housing as a strategic priority for the next five years.
Housing needs for Basin communities vary by location, size, demographic need and economic means. They include:
- workforce housing in resort and resource communities;
- housing for an aging population;
- Aboriginal housing;
- retention of existing housing; and
- housing for marginalized populations including mental health, disabilities, and other individuals and families needing services.
The following is an illustration of the housing continuum, and forms of housing that exist along the continuum.
This framework outlines the Trust’s mission/vision, objectives, tactics and resources to address housing issues in the Basin from 2016/17 to 2019/20. Overall, the Trust will help to ensure residents have access to housing that meets their needs. The Trust will:
- Work along the housing continuum to strengthen social and economic well-being in the Basin.
- Develop, manage and fund housing that meets community and regional needs.
- Support local and regional efforts to address housing priorities.
The Trust will take a phased approach to implementing the framework through 2019/20.
A number of tactics outlined in the framework are exploratory, and will require further decisions after research and analysis are complete. In addition, the Trust will learn as it tries out new approaches in addressing housing issues. Given this, while this framework is multi-year, the Trust will revisit it at least annually and may develop new tactics.
There is a high level of demand in the region for affordable housing and any one area of the framework could require significant resources. Over the timeframe of this framework, the Trust will need to consider the resources it can allocate to each tactic, prioritize (and deprioritize) activities, and seek out funding partners.
To implement this framework, the Trust will:
- Leverage funding and resources from all levels of government, private sector, and non-profit sector, as appropriate, to increase the impact of the Trust’s funding.
- Focus its efforts on creating housing that is affordable for the intended market segment, and that is safe, secure and high quality.
- Recognize that housing priorities and needs may vary by community in the Basin.
- Work in partnership with entities, communities, funders and other organizations with complementary housing objectives.
- Pursue innovative solutions to systemic challenges in the housing sector.
- Aim to increase the number of affordable housing units in the Basin by a total of 50 per year for the next three years.
Objective 1: Strengthen Social and Economic Well-being
Work along the housing continuum to strengthen social and economic well-being in the Basin.
The Trust will focus its efforts toward the middle of the continuum, helping individual residents and families in the Basin move to the highest level possible. Outside of Housing Initiatives, other Trust endeavors and initiatives may impact each end of the continuum. For example, Trust Social Initiatives can provide program support to those at risk of homelessness and the Trust Investment Program or Economic Development Initiatives could impact the availability of market housing.
|1. Provide and facilitate access to reliable information about housing need and demand in communities.||This tactic will help ensure that communities have good information about which demographics and market segments need housing, what kinds of housing those residents need and how housing should be priced.
The Trust is gathering research and data Basin-wide on community current housing needs and future demands. In addition to providing this information to the region, the Trust may also fund need and demand assessments for specific communities, if there is insufficient existing research available and/or there is a specific community inquiry.
|2. Provide proposal development support and funding.||The Trust will support housing entities which are engaged, or wish to be engaged in the provision of housing, in developing housing proposals. The Trust may provide grant dollars for proposal development support to housing entities including for the development of feasibility studies and business plans. The Trust may also provide this support directly through a staff person or through a Trust-engaged consultant.|
|3. Provide capital grants for the creation of new housing units.||The Trust will provide capital grants to support entities that are creating new housing units in the Basin. The Trust will review requests for capital grants with a preference for projects that have community support, significant financial contributions from other sources, a well-developed capital and subsequent operating plan, and have demonstrated management expertise. The Trust may also proactively partner with other funders on capital grant programs.|
|4. Explore ways to support existing affordable housing stock with needed upgrades.||The Trust will consider how it can support existing affordable housing projects with upgrades that help retain the stock. Before playing a role in this area, the Trust needs to assess the depth of need in the Basin, and find ways to support projects at an appropriate level, while ensuring that it does not relieve any housing organization of its obligations to maintain reserves for the purposes of replacements. One role that the Trust may be able to play is assisting existing project managers with long term asset management strategies.|
Objective 2: Develop and Manage Projects
Develop and manage housing to meet community needs.
The Trust may purchase, own, lease and/or manage housing as required to increase available housing in communities where housing is needed and another housing entity is unable to respond to the community need.
|1. Determine the most appropriate organizational structure to develop, own, and manage housing.||The Trust has started research on the types of entities that would be suited to develop, own, and manage housing. The Trust will complete its analysis, and identify the best organizational structure for this purpose.|
|2. Directly develop housing projects in communities where housing is needed.||Through its community engagement, the Trust will be aware of opportunities to develop, own, and manage housing to meet needs along the housing continuum. When a below market ownership/rental opportunity is identified, the Trust will be open to directly developing the project to meet the local or regional need.
In considering whether or not to take on a project, the Trust will assess whether or not an existing organization has an interest in the project. The Trust will seek to alleviate the burden on community groups that are trying to meet a housing need but do not necessarily have the resources or desire to establish a permanent housing organization.
|3. Assess roles that the Trust could play in facilitating affordable home ownership.||In the past, the Trust has not played a role in facilitating affordable home ownership, as it had limited funds and a more urgent need in the region for rental housing. Home ownership is an important part of the continuum and there are different affordable housing entities outside the Basin that have had success in addressing this need. The Trust will consider its roles in this area, and assess project ideas from communities.|
Objective 3: Support Local and Regional Efforts
Support local and regional efforts to address housing priorities.
The following tactics, mentioned above, also apply to this objective:
- Provide and facilitate access to reliable information about housing need and demand in communities.
- Provide capital grants for the creation of new housing units.
|1. Assess whether or not there is an appropriate role for the Trust to play in the provision of programs that are complementary to affordable housing.||Often, the provision of non-market housing is complemented by the provision of programs to support its residents and their varied needs. The Trust will consider whether or not there is proactive role for it to play in this area. Currently, many outreach programs would be eligible to apply for funds through the Trust’s Social Grants Program.|
In order to address the areas identified in this framework, the Trust is committing $5 million for Housing Initiatives in each of 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20, for a total of $15 million.
With a $5 million annual allocation for Housing Initiatives, it is estimated that the Trust – with a combination of commitments of funds from other sources, other equity contributions and debt financing – would be able to create a minimum of 50 housing units per year for the next three years.
At this stage it is not possible to assign specific budgets (either in terms of amounts, or timing) to the objectives identified in this framework.
Project Development Advocate: The Trust will assist entities to advance their Basin housing proposals by:
- providing proposal development funding;
- helping them structure their proposals and providing guidance; and,
- linking them with other funders.
Funding Partner: The Trust will partner with other funders to support proposal development and capital initiatives that allow it to leverage its resources and pursue the objectives in this framework.
Sole Funder: In cases where proposal development and capital contributions are required to advance a prudent and/or time sensitive housing opportunity, the Trust will be a sole funder if it cannot obtain matching funding from other funders in a timely manner.
Project Developer and Owner: The Trust will be open to below market housing opportunities consistent with the objectives of this framework. In cases where there is not a strong entity to advance a prudent and/or below market housing opportunity, the Trust may purchase, own and manage land and/or housing projects consistent with the objectives of this framework.
- There is high demand in the region for more housing options along the continuum. Housing projects can be costly. The Trust could easily spend its proposed annual allocation on one project, and not meet demand throughout the region. It is essential that the Trust set priorities, and partner on projects in order to leverage funding and equity contributions as much as possible.
- The housing industry and sector continue to evolve and some of the tactics in this framework represent new areas for the Trust. The Trust will need to ensure that it has the appropriate housing expertise to implement this framework, and help make expertise available to communities.
- Some Basin communities will have more ability – as a result of their size, available resources, and existing housing organizations and engagement on the issue – to initially develop and manage housing projects. The Trust will need to ensure it helps address housing issues in all communities.
Read more about affordable housing needs in the Columbia Basin.