Affordable Housing Initiative
Affordable Housing Strategy
The availability of safe, adequate and affordable housing plays a central role in ensuring the social, economic and physical health of a community. While the provision of affordable housing, particularly highly subsidized housing for low income and special needs individuals, has traditionally been the role of senior levels of government, programs are limited and highly targeted. As a consequence, local governments are increasingly becoming involved in seeking solutions to housing gaps within their communities.
Affordable housing means many things to many people. The successful development and implementation of a local approach to affordable housing depends on a clear definition. Ultimately, the definition should: be easily understood and implemented; aimed at households with low to moderate incomes, and; take in to account local income distribution and demographic characteristics. As such, the strategy outlines that the definition in Oliver’s context is:
“Affordable housing is homeownership and rental housing for moderate income working households that does not cost more than 30% of a household’s before-tax income.”
The Affordable Housing Strategy for Oliver is a product of background research, stakeholder interviews, and a community survey undertaken during summer, 2009 along with similar work undertaken for the Town of Osoyoos. From the consultant’s background research, three groups who face the most immediate housing challenges in Oliver are identified. These three groups include:
- Moderate income working households, both singles and families with children at home;
- Short-stay workers in the agricultural, tourism and hospitality and construction industries; and,
- Lower income households, including lone parents and special needs groups.
In June 2009 a joint interest workshop with Council and senior staff from both Towns was held to identify priority issues and gather additional information.
In June/July 2009 interviews were held with key community stakeholders (i.e. local business owners, seasonal works, members of the Women’s Institute, Kiwanis Housing Society, Osoyoos Indian Band (O.I.B.) etc.) to obtain further information about affordable housing in Oliver.
A community survey to obtain additional public input was distributed to a wide audience via the Town’s website and physical locations throughout Oliver, such as, the library, Oliver Place Mall and the Parks and Recreation Centre in August 2009.
In an effort to reach out to young adults the consultants held a 'focus group' session on October 8 2009 to talk about housign challenges with people specifically in their 20's and 30's.
On October 28, 2009 an open house was held to provide an overview of the process to date including possible approaches and models for the community’s input and to obtain feedback on the draft strategy.
The Strategy’s vision is “to create and maintain a mix of rental, ownership and non-market housing options that meets the needs of Oliver’s full-time
residents, future full-time residents and short-stay workers, and supports the growth and diversification of the economy of the South Okanagan.”
The four key goals of the Strategy are TO:
- Increase the supply of year-round market rental housing.
- Increase affordable ownership housing options for singles and families, particularly for first-time purchasers
- Facilitate the development of suitable, affordable housing options for short-stay workers.
- Support the provision of transitional and supportive housing for residents of Oliver who have the least choice in the housing market (people with special needs, single parent households and seniors with love, fixed incomes).
Related documents can be downloaded below: