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). At $24.29/hour the 2022 Living Wage for Greater Victoria is a $3.83 increase from the 2021 rate. 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.

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.

Missing Middle Housing

On August 4, The Community Social Planning Council share this presentaiton to Victoria Council, highlighting support for the Missing Middle Housing Initiative in Victoria.

Here are three key points of the Missing Middle Housing Initiative:

  1. This initiative will increase housing supply in terms of sheer numbers and housing type options.
  2. Increased density has a positive impact on our climate.
  3. Housing that is inclusive for families, seniors, and those living with disabilities.

Watch the video to learn more!

Income disparity in Greater Victoria

On July 13, 2022 Statistics Canada released data from the 2021 Census that included a portrait of Canada’s families and households, and an income profile of Canadian households. This data update contained both good news and bad news for residents of Greater Victoria.

The good news? Incomes are rising for everyone from the lowest income levels (i.e. households with an income that is 50% or less of the regional median) to the highest (i.e. households with an income that is 120% or more of the regional median). As well, the median income in Greater Victoria is higher than the provincial median and very close to the national median.

The bad news? Incomes are rising more quickly for the people who are already making the most money. This means that people are making more money but have less left over for food, transportation, clothing, and other needs after meeting their housing costs.

Click this image to read the full 2 page infographic

Sources: 

Statistics Canada, July 13 Census data release: https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/dp-pd/index-eng.cfm

New personal ID service helps people move out of homelessness

The Community Social Planning Council announces a new service for people in need and those supporting them. The Greater Victoria Coordinated ID Services offer assistance applying for ID, coverage of application fees, and safe ID storage. More details are available at communitycouncil.ca/Id-service and in the full release below.

Launch Press Release

Women’s Day 2022 – the gender wage gap in the CRD

Women in the Capital Regional District continue to earn less than men. The gap is larger for visible minority women and women with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Women annually earn between 30 and 75 cents for each dollar a white man earns.

Where does this gap come from?

Various intersecting factors feed into these income gaps—wage inequity, gender and culture specific norms, lack of childcare and caregiving responsibilities are just some examples. Women, and particularly visible minority women:

  • Are more likely to be part-time, temporary and contract workers.
  • Are more likely to do lower paying work, and conversely, compensation is traditionally lower for sectors in which the workers are mostly women.
  • Earn less per hour on average for similar work to men.

COVID-19 has widened the gap. The lack of adequate childcare, school aged children at home, and the high impacts on tourism, retail, food and hospitality and other sectors where women and particularly visible minority women were hit hardest.

In response, the Canadian Human Right Commission states:

“If we are to restore momentum in our efforts to bring about gender equality in Canada, social and economic recovery efforts must take a feminist approach. Closing the gender pay gap and improving social services for women in vulnerable circumstances are a must.”

How can we narrow the gaps in the Capital Region?

Conduct pay audits in your organization. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business provides exercises to conduct an internal audit. While it’s specific to the Pay Equity Act in Quebec, the questions can be adapted to other jurisdictions.

Support flexible work requirements. Women are often forced to choose between work, childcare, and other family commitments. A flexible schedule that eases in-office requirements can help.

Publish wage/salary information in job postings. Providing salaries up front keeps unintentional bias from creeping into the hiring process. Publishing a range allows room to negotiate based on education and experience while ensuring candidates have equal starting places.

Write your MLA and encourage them to pass provincial legislation that outline protections, processes, and remedies that require all BC employers to provide equal pay and to make the minimum wage a living wage (See the CSPC’s annual calculation for the living wage).


About the data

Note: Gender earnings gaps were calculated from median annual incomes.

Data Tables: CPP-5a: Aboriginal identity (7), Age groups (6), Sex (3), Income status in 2015 – CPP (7) and Selected labour force, work activity and income characteristics (35) for the population 15 years and over with income in private households, 2016 Census

CPP-5b: Visible minority status (14), Age groups (6), Sex (3), Income status in 2015 – CPP (7) and Selected labour force, work activity and income characteristics (35) for the population 15 years and over with income in private households, 2016 Census

Definitions for various demographic groups are included in the Stats Canada data tables listed.

References