They Paved Paradise: Transforming Minimum Parking Requirements Event

Did you know it’s estimated that creating one required parking spot can add an additional 10 to 15 percent to overall development costs?

As our housing unaffordability and cost of living crisis continue to put communities under pressure, policy makers and advocates are looking at a new solution: transforming our minimum parking requirements (MPRs). This shift could not only get us closer to our poverty reduction goals, but also address climate change and help create a more livable region.

Joined by guest speakers with experience transforming parking minimums in cities across North America, we’ll discuss key questions such as:

How do you envision communities changing with a shift away from MPRs?

What were some of the challenges faced by city council, staff, and the public when transforming MPRs in your community?

What are the potential or experienced impacts of MPR removal?

---

The CSPC acknowledges the Songhees, Esquimalt, Tsartlip/W̱JOȽEȽP, Tseycum/WSIḴEM, Tsawout/SȾÁUTW, Pauquachin/BOḰEĆEN, T’Sou-ke, Scia’new and Pacheedaht Nations who have a historical and ongoing relationship to the land where our offices and work are based.

We also respect the wide diversity of nations and languages across the province. British Columbia is home to over 200 First Nations communities and approximately 50% of the First Peoples’ languages of Canada. For more information visit: https://maps.fpcc.ca/

Want to give back this holiday season?

As the living wage soars, 1 in 11 families in Greater Victoria are considered low-income. Even more alarming is the fact that over 14% of local children are living in poverty, according to a recent study by the CSPC.

We believe that an equitable, sustainable, and affordable Greater Victoria is in reach, but is only achievable when we collectively work together to support underserved populations.

This holiday season, we are asking you to please consider supporting a local non-profit, family, or anyone who could use a helping hand.


Check out this list from Victoria Buzz which includes numerous charities and non-profits you could support this giving season.

The Mustard Seed 

The Mustard Seed Street Church has helped fight hunger and restore faith to people living in harsh conditions in greater Victoria since 1975.

The Mustard Seed accepts food, clothing and Christmas hamper donations.

  • Where: The Mustard Seed, 625 Queens Avenue
  • When: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Food bank hours are Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Victoria Community Fridge 

The fridge operates on a “take what you need, leave what you can” basis, as an exciting way to strengthen the community.

Everyone is welcome to take whatever they need from the fridge, whenever.

The fridge is open 24/7 and directly accessible from the sidewalk.

Acceptable donations to the community fridge and pantry items include:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Unopened or bulk dry goods (pasta, rice, legumes, baking supplies)
  • Sealed hygiene items (diapers, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, tampons, pads, and soaps)
  • Sealed pet food, and snacks (granola bars, crackers, etc.)

Accepted products with labelled expiry dates:

  • Bread and pastries
  • Fresh eggs
  • Dairy products or alternatives
  • Soy products and meat alternatives

What the community fridge does not accept:

  • Open or used items
  • Raw meat or seafood
  • Opened or half-eaten food (unless individually packaged)
  • Alcohol
  • Mouldy or seriously damaged bread or produce
  • Frozen food
  • Leftovers or premade meals*
  • Where: Victoria Community Fridge, 2725 Rock Bay Avenue
  • When: Open 24/7

The Rainbow Kitchen

Founded in 2010, Rainbow Kitchen is a family-friendly community kitchen that specializes in providing delicious meals and connecting the community to resources.

Everyone is welcome, no questions asked.

If you or someone you know needs food, Rainbow Kitchen can help. With a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, Rainbow Kitchen serves 10,000 meals every month.

The Rainbow Kitchen accepts pasta, rice, tomatoes, beans, canned vegetables, toiletries, cooking oils/sprays, coffees and teas, flour and sugar on a regular basis.

For those looking to donate fresh food products, the Rainbow Kitchen encourages people to contact them before dropping off items.

  • Where: Victoria Rainbow Kitchen, 500 Admirals Road
  • When: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Sandy Merriman House

Sandy Merriman provides emergency shelter for 25 women who are homeless. We welcome trans women, gender fluid and non-binary people.

Due to staff shortages and limited space, the staff at the Merriman House are only able to receive donations on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

After the New Year donations will go back to being accepted on a daily basis.

  • Where: Sandy Merriman House, 809 Burdett Avenue
  • When: Wednesdays, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank 

The Lions Food Bank accepts a variety of food donations and food hampers.

December donation hours include Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Food hamper donations can be accepted Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

  • Where: Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank, 9586 Fifth Street
  • When: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Anawim House

The Anawim house is a drop-in and transition house for the homeless and those living on the margins in Victoria.

The Anawim House is able to accept donations of perishable as well as non-perishable food items. Dry food goods as well as maintenance supplies are also gratefully accepted.

If you have any questions about donations, please contact House Director Terry Edison Brown at (250) 382-0283 or e-mail info@anawimhouse.com.

  • Where: Anawim House, 973 Caledonia Avenue
  • When: Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. With the exception of Wednesdays. 

The Soup Kitchen

The Soup Kitchen is staffed by volunteers and funded by community donations, for 40 years the Soup Kitchen has fed those in need.

The kitchen’s brown bagged meals are given out to over 30,000 diners annually. For many, this is their only meal of the day.

The Soup Kitchen gladly accepts sealed and fresh food donations, warm clothes and personal care products. Those donating are encouraged to call 778-440-7687 if you have any questions.

  • Where: The Soup Kitchen, 740 View Street
  • When: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Our Place Society

Our Place Society has grown from a unique inner-city community centre to nine locations serving Greater Victoria’s most vulnerable, including people struggling with homelessness, mental health challenges, substance use issues, the working poor, and the impoverished elderly.

From community meals that rely on public donations, to Christmas gifts and warm clothing these are 13 ways our place society accepts donations from the public.

  • Where: Our Place Society919 Pandora Avenue
  • When: Monday to Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (food bank)

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul seeks, in a spirit of justice and charity, helps those who are poor, in need, or living with disabilities.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul accepts anything from food donations, clothes, household items, electronics including TV’s and game consoles, to furniture, antique merchandise, and hundred-year-old literature!

All donations are now being accepted at the societies, 1010 Craflower Road, Esquimalt and 2784 Claude Road, Langford locations.

  • Where:

    • Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, 1010 Craigflower Road
      • Monday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, 2784 Claude Road
      • Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Living Edge

After moving to Victoria from South Africa in 2011, Pastor Neil noticed a lot of people in downtown Victoria were in need of food.

In an effort to support the community, Neil began gathering food once a week from grocery stores to hand it out to people from the trunk of his car.

Years later, his efforts have now formed Living Edge, a Victoria-based charity that is dependent on funding from individuals, groups, businesses, and churches.

The Living Edge’s focus is providing fresh food – not just canned goods – to local residents.

Living Edge accepts donations of surplus food from businesses and paid donations from the public.

Donations to Living Edge go directly to pay the expenses of operating their programs.

  • Where: Living Edge, 510 Constance Avenue
  • When:  The following donation drop-off locations include:
    • Monday 2:30-3:45 p.m. UVic Family Circle – 2375 Lam Circle
    • Monday 5- 6 p.m. Central Baptist Church – 833 Pandora Ave., Victoria
    • Tuesday 4:30-6 p.m. Gateway Baptist Church – 898 Royal Oak Ave., Victoria
    • Thursday 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Quadra Village Community Centre – 901 Kings Rd., Victoria
    • Thursday 5:30-6:30 p.m. Saanich Baptist Church – 7577 Wallace Dr., Victoria
    • Friday 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Open Gate Church – 679 Goldstream Ave., Langford
    • Saturday 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Harbourview Church – 511 Constance Ave., Esquimalt

BC SPCA Victoria Pet Food Bank Program

The Victoria BC SPCA has a pet food bank- it’s free, confidential, and judgment-free. We don’t ask for identifying information.

Folks can take what they need: pet food, treats, and an assortment of other gently used items like leashes, litter pans, dog bowls, etc.

If you are interested in supporting the Victoria BC SPCA Pet Food Bank program, the initiative accepts donations of unopened pet food and treats, gently used items, beds and carriers!

Drop-off is available at reception during reception hours Tuesday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Where: Victoria BC SPCA, 3150 Napier Lane
  • When: Every Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Full credit goes to Victoria Buzz for this list, view the original article here.

Affordability Targets Needed as David Eby Releases Housing Plan

Community Council report spotlights the need for affordability targets as David Eby announces B.C. affordable housing plan

GREATER VICTORIA: The Community social planning Council is pleased to see action provincially on housing.

The announcement of the move towards setting housing targets is welcome but there has been no mention of how affordability will be part of those targets. A recent report from the Community Council on housing needs data: Filling the Gap identifies the serious need for housing for households with lower incomes.

"This legislation will move the needle on the housing crisis if the housing targets specify not just how much, but also who needs housing, what kind, and at what cost." says report author, Nicole Chaland, "If the targets do not specify this, aiming at them will be like shooting in the dark." 

The report shows that in Greater Victoria there is an existing deficit of nearly 3,500 homes that rent for $375 each month and 14,200 homes that rent for less than $875 monthly.

"We have seen that supply alone is not going to resolve the housing crisis," says Diana Gibson, Executive Director of the Community Council, "Housing costs were a key factor in the living wage jumping 20% this year - affordability needs to be a strong focus in any targets that are set by the government."

The report partners with the HART (Housing Assessment Resource Tools) project based at the University of British Columbia. Hart is developing standardized ways to measure and address housing need, with a focus on improving the balanced supply of housing.  

According to Craig Jones, HART Coordinator, "provincial-municipal targets will need to be linked to robust, equity-focused, data. " He adds, "Our tool measures housing need by income group with intersectionality that allows us to look at housing needs for priority populations such as single parents."

Victoria

(City of Victoria)

Eqsuimalt

(Township of Esquimalt)

Saanich

(District of Saanich)

Greater Victoria Living Wage Report 2022

The Living Wage is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children must each earn to meet their basic expenses (including rent, child-care, medical needs, food, and transportation), once government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies have been taken into account. The Living Wage for our region is calculated annually by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria (CSPC) and is based on a 35 hour work week. At $24.29/hour ($44,208 annually per parent), the 2022 Living Wage for Greater Victoria is a $3.83 increase from 2021. As those in the region can attest, the cost of living continues to soar.

Living Wage Report 2022 Event

The Living Wage is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children must each earn to meet their basic expenses (including rent, child-care, medical needs, food, and transportation), once government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies have been taken into account. The Living Wage for our region is calculated annually by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria (CSPC).

As those in the region can attest, the cost of living continues to soar.

Join us on November 17, 2022, from 12-1pm to discuss the living wage, and ways in which we can make life more affordable in our region.

Guest speakers at the event will consist of a panel of Living Wage advocates, community members, and local business owners.

This event is part of the CSPC's continuing dialogue on affordability and is in partnership with the United Way.

The CSPC acknowledges the Songhees, Esquimalt, Tsartlip/W̱JOȽEȽP, Tseycum/WSIḴEM, Tsawout/SȾÁUTW, Pauquachin/BOḰEĆEN, T’Sou-ke, Scia’new and Pacheedaht Nations who have a historical and ongoing relationship to the land where our offices and work are based. We commit to active listening and humility in working with Indigenous Peoples.

Making Affordable Housing Happen: Non-profit Solutions for Cities

What is affordable? What can municipalities and the non-profit sector do to help achieve affordability?

Housing affordability has been out of reach for many people living in our communities for a substantial period of time. A change to the status quo is necessary in order to develop a healthy economy where housing serves as a home and a place of shelter, not just an asset.

Join us from 12:30-2pm PST on November 16th as municipal leaders in the non-profit field discuss non-market solutions to the housing crisis. Past reports and webinars such as the Housing Needs Assessment, Drivers of Homelessness, and Tenant Displacement Protection will provide a base for much of the conversation.

Stick around for the last 30 minutes of the webinar for the Community Social Planning Council's AGM.

Speakers at the event will include:

  • Jill Atkey, CEO of BC Non-profit Housing Association
  • Kathy Stinson, CEO, Cool Aid Society
  • Carolina Ibarra, CEO, Pacifica Housing
  • Corinne Saad, Executive Director, Gorge View Society

This event is part of the CSPC's continuing dialogue on housing affordability, learn about our initiatives here.

Watch the recording here

The CSPC acknowledges the Songhees, Esquimalt, Tsartlip/W̱JOȽEȽP, Tseycum/WSIḴEM, Tsawout/SȾÁUTW, Pauquachin/BOḰEĆEN, T’Sou-ke, Scia’new and Pacheedaht Nations who have a historical and ongoing relationship to the land where our offices and work are based. We commit to active listening and humility in working with Indigenous Peoples.

Recording: Policy + Protection Event

WATCH THE RECORDING HERE

In a push to increase housing supply, tenant displacement, increased rental costs, and decreased access are often unintended consequences. However, local governments can implement policies that help to minimize these negative effects.

This event was part of the CSPC's continuing dialogue on Housing Affordability and was co-hosted by Livable Victoria.

The following guest speakers were present at the event:

- Julian West, Missing Middle Housing & Sustainable Transportation
- Doug King, Together Against Poverty Society
- Aleida Blandford, Tenant Protections & Community Engagement
- Jordan Milne, Urban Land Economics, Rental Housing, & Mixed-Use Development
- Jenna Hrechka, Tenant perspectives/experiences

Curious about some of the language used during the session? Check out the definitions below and view the City of Victoria's Tenant Assistance Policy.

TAP: Tenant Assistance Policy.

First-Right-of-Refusal: As part of the TAP, the right of qualifying tenants who were displaced by redevelopment the option to return to a unit at the new building, generally at a below market rate (currently 20% below market rents in the City of Victoria).

FSR: Floor Space Ratio. A measure of density, measured by gross building floor area to lot size.

The intersection of climate transitions and equity

On September 20th, 2022, Climate Equity team members Lorenzo Magzul and Chelsea Power had the opportunity to speak to the BC Poverty Reduction Community of Practice. The CoP meets monthly to learn from each other, to enable professional self-development, and to build capacities of their local poverty reduction initiatives.

You can view the presentation as recorded by Zoom at the link below.

You will need the passcode: rWdtH4b. (include the period).

Policy + Protection: How municipalities can increase density while protecting tenants

In a push to increase housing supply, tenant displacement, increased rental costs, and decreased access are often unintended consequences. However, local governments can implement policies that help to minimize these negative effects.

Join us from 12-1:30pm PST on September 28th for a solutions-based conversation.

This is a chance for you to have your ideas heard and share in dialogue on an important issue facing our community. The objective of this conversation is to identify ways in which we can

  • Provide strong tenant protections/displacement supports while
  • Increasing housing supply and thereby addressing the systemic shortage of housing.

Speakers at this event will include

  • Julian West, Missing Middle Housing & Sustainable Transportation
  • Doug King, Together Against Poverty Society
  • Aleida Blandford, Tenant Protections & Community Engagement
  • Jordan Milne, Urban Land Economics, Rental Housing, & Mixed-Use Development
  • Person with lived experience of renting in Greater Victoria

This event is part of the CSPC’s continuing dialogue on Housing Affordability and is co-hosted by Livable Victoria.

Register here: bit.ly/DisplacementProtectionEvent

Filling the Gap: analytics to support housing for all in Greater Victoria

Piloting the HART Method in Greater Victoria

What is affordable? Affordable for whom? When is affordability not enough? These questions are at the core of housing needs assessments that allow governments to meet the housing needs of everyone in the region.

The HART Method, developed by UBC's Housing Research Collaborative, offers an approach to determining local housing needs that includes housing size, the need for accessible homes, and the maximum costs for rent at specific income levels.

The Community Social Planning Council has piloted the HART Method of developing housing needs assessments for five areas in Greater Victoria.* Filling the Gap explores the HART Method and highlights the variations in local need by looking specifically at the municipalities of Sooke, Esquimalt, Saanich, and the City of Victoria in comparison to Greater Victoria.

Speakers at the event on September 20, 2022 included

  • Carolyn Whitzman PhD, Invited Professor at the University of Ottawa and expert advisor to the UBC Housing Research Collaborative
  • Nicole Chaland, housing researcher and paper co-author
  • Luna, Homes for Living community advocate

Filling the Gap invitates discussion on the methodology and its local findings. It is part of the Community Council's ongoing series on housing affordability.

* The initial report uses 2016 census data as 2021 data had not yet been released during the report's writing. CSPC will update the analysis with current data when it is available.