AFFORDABLE HOUSING – PART 1: What’s in a House?

There are 7,265 Renter Households in Langley Township (LINK):

  • The median income of a renter household is $54,868;
  • 39% of renter households are spending over 30% of before tax income on shelter costs (rent + utilities);
  • 20% of renter households are spending over 50% of before tax income on shelter costs.

NOTE: These numbers do not include people experiencing homelessness who may be couch surfing with family or friends, or living in their vehicles, on the streets or in tent cities.

Why do these numbers matter? How does affordable housing contribute to an individual’s or a family’s quality of life?

The Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHF BC) and the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) have created a MAKE HOUSING CENTRAL 2018 BC Municipal Election Campaign Guide for each municipality in BC. This is to encourage both voters and candidates to know the facts, and the issues about affordable housing in BC.

Affordable housing contributes to the following outcomes:

  1. Family stability: Affordable housing is central for family stability. When households spend too much of their income on housing, they end up sacrificing other necessities such as food, clothing, and childcare.
  2. Education: Affordable housing is crucial for the education outcomes of children as well as adults. Studies have shown a link between stable, affordable housing and better grades, higher educational attainment, and ultimately higher incomes for low-income individuals and families.
  3. Health: Research has shown a strong link between the condition of housing and physical health outcomes of individuals. Adequate and affordable housing is associated with better birth outcomes for children, as well as reduced cardiovascular disease, depression, and mortality.
  4. Social connection: Affordable housing options are often located in more remote areas of communities, disconnected from schools, transit, community centres, social networks and other amenities. A lack of affordable housing can lead to social exclusion of vulnerable groups and result in greater marginalisation or disconnection.
  5. Job creation and spending: A 2013 study by LandlordBC and KPMG Canada found that BC’s rental housing sector contributed $10.60 billion to Canada’s GDP and generated 82,851 full-time equivalent jobs across BC. High housing costs impact where workers can locate and increasingly this has led to greater difficulty/increased challenges for employers to attract and retain labour. Cleaners, restaurant workers, bus drivers, teachers, nurses, police officers and other professions all require affordable housing to make thriving and functioning economies.
  6. Cost savings: It is cheaper to invest in affordable housing than do nothing. Homelessness alone is estimated to cost Canadians $7 billion annually, including $1 billion per year in British Columbia. Research has found that for every $10 spent on housing and supports for those who are chronically homeless, $21.72 is saved in costs related to health care, the justice system, shelters, and other social supports. While building affordable housing is expensive, not building housing is more expensive.

Those are six reasons why affordable housing is necessary in all municipalities across the province, including the Township of Langley. STACEY WAKELIN signed the Make Housing Central pledge, which means as a candidate, and potential future Councillor, she is committed to:

  • Contribute public land to the community housing sector for new affordable homes
  • Protect existing affordable housing supply through retention and replacement policies
  • Zone existing and new rental developments as rental only
  • Streamline municipal permitting and rezoning processes to fast-track development of affordable rental housing
  • Pursue partnerships with local non-profits, co-operatives and other stakeholders in the community housing sector to create new affordable housing developments

In AFFORDABLE HOUSING PART 2, find out how a municipal government can support affordable housing initiatives in their communities.

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