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.

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).

BC Carbon Pricing Review Equity Survey

In May and June of this year, the Community Social Planning Committee of Greater Victoria supported B.C.’s Carbon Pricing Review by

  • hosting multiple engagement sessions for vulnerable populations and the agencies that work with them,
  • creating and distributing an online survey, and
  • collating what was recorded in the sessions and through the survey in a report to the province.

Our work continues as we develop an understanding of what services and programs are currently available to support British Columbians manage the impacts of carbon pricing.

Our report to the government will help inform their decisions on updated carbon pricing.
Our report to the government will help inform their decisions on updated carbon pricing.

The Survey

This survey aims to collect information on:

  1. The different impacts of the carbon tax for diverse community members, especially those with low incomes.
  2. How carbon tax programs could be designed to help address fairness and affordability.
  3. Challenges accessing carbon tax programs such as the Climate Action Tax Credit.

Feedback from engagement sessions held in May and this survey will inform the provincial government’s review of B.C.’s carbon tax and associated programs, which aims to understand its impacts on affordability for households and businesses.

The Sessions

Between May 16 and May 26, 2020 the Community Social Planning Councl hosted six community engagement sessions for British Columbians to learn and share as part of the government of British Columbia's review of Carbon Pricinb.

For context on the Carbon Pricing engagement sessions held in May, watch this video recording of one session:

Gender Balance in Entrepreneurship – What does that mean?

Gender Balance in Entrepreneurship – What does that mean?

Gender balance in entrepreneurship means moving from ‘hero-preneurship’ to collaboration and away from hierarchy to scaling through adaptation or replication by others.

As we start to re-build into a green, diverse, and inclusive economy, limiting the barriers women and newcomer entrepreneurs face will be essential. Did you know that 15.7% of small and medium enterprises are owned by women, which makes up the bulk of Canada’s companies? Canada has made progress towards narrowing the gender gap but still sits at 19th place for developed economies and fell in 2019 (from 16th place in 2017). Did you also know that when male entrepreneurs make a pitch for funding, they receive funding 68% of the time? The same pitch, made by a woman – same words, same pitch – is only funded 32% of the time.

Our report: Financial Inclusion in the Green Economy (FIGE) sets sights on addressing inequalities between genders by identifying current and future barriers to financial inclusion for women in the green economy. This report was launched in response to local anecdotes from women entrepreneurs struggling to break into the green economy.

As quoted by Mikaila Montgomery in the Times Colonist– co-coordinator of the program:

“Victoria is in some ways a leader in gender equality — but there is always room for improvement. We still hear of stories of women entrepreneurs making a pitch for funding to start a business being declined — and advised to come back with a man.”

This project is just the beginning of the conversation. The council is working on phase 2 of the project and we are always looking to hear from individuals who have been challenged with these barriers. If you would like to get in touch, please reach out to Alisha Evans at communications@communitycouncil.ca

More focus on BC youth transitioning out of care needed

The Community Social Planning Council welcomes the new report from BC’s Representative for Children and Youth that puts a spotlight on youth transitioning out of care. In the 2020 Point in Time Homeless Count for the Capital Region, 1 in 3 of the people experiencing homelessness had been in foster care or government care. This number jumps to 55% for youth aged 16 to 24.

The importance of that transition as youth age out of care is clear – for the individuals we surveyed who had been in care, 30% experienced homelessness within one month of leaving care.  Only 15% of those we surveyed felt that Child Protective Services were helpful with the transitioning to independence after leaving foster care.

Youth experiencing homelessness we surveyed asked for life skills and mental health supports. It is great to see the report focus on these areas, particularly since 70% of the youth we surveyed identified as living with mental health issues and homelessness. There is a dangerous convergence of gaps in the system for youth in care and gaps in our mental health and addictions services. The report outlines initial steps to address this but more is needed in both areas.

The higher risk for Indigenous youth is another key area needing focus as they are disproportionately represented in the foster care system and experience homelessness at higher rates. The report acknowledges the impacts of colonialism and importance of cultural connection but falls short of recommending action. Prevention is key. As the well-known Canadian Indigenous expert, Cindy Blackstock says, poverty underlies many of the health and wellness disparities affecting Indigenous children, youth and families – if it goes unaddressed very little progress will be made in closing the gap.

We applaud the report’s focus on filling the gaps for children aging out of care. However, there needs to be bigger focus on the broader economic disparities that put children and youth at risk: inequality, poverty, economic and job insecurity and lack of adequate, affordable housing. COVID has exposed those fault lines in our society and opened new opportunities to do better.

Poverty underlies many of the health and wellness disparities affecting Indigenous children, youth and families – if it goes unaddressed very little progress will be made in closing the gap in life chances and experience.

 

Diana Gibson, Executive Director of the council was approached by Chek News to provide a comment on the recent published report. Watch the full interview here.

📣 Shout-out: Thank-you BC Transit

The CSPC is giving a big SHOUT-OUT and THANK-YOU to BC Transit for donating reusable masks for the Community Council’s Low-Income Transit Assistance program.

On Thursday, November 19th, the BC government announced further restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to surge and the concern of community spread grows. Masks are now mandatory for public indoor places and thanks to BC Transit, we have a limited supply of reusable masks available for those agencies that have placed Low-Income Transit orders. Please contact our office if you would like to include this in your order or connect with Barry Hutchinson about masks when you come in to pick up your order.

We are always looking and accepting donations of disposable masks if anyone is able to help. If you have any extras, please contact us at communications@communitycouncil.ca

Be Kind. Be Calm. Be Safe

– Dr. Bonnie Henry

🚨NEWS: We are a Finalist!

The Community Social Planning Council is excited to announce that we are a finalist in this year’s City of Victoria’s Participatory Budgeting! This year’s Participatory Budgeting initiative is to support community projects benefiting new immigrants and refugees in Victoria. Our Project Active Inclusion in the Green Recovery does just that!

For more on this project and to cast your vote Click Here