The Affordable Housing issue has been studied and discussed ad infinitum in the Cowichan Valley by various non-profit groups as well as those in government. It is usually looked at as rental housing. However, Affordable Housing is a concern not only for the homeless, those on welfare, and single parents; low and middle income families and a great many seniors who would like to buy modest homes are being left out of the ... market. Affordable Housing to developers seems to mean houses that sell for
$ 200,000 to $ 350,000. To families just starting out, and to many seniors Affordable Housing means a home that can be purchased for around $ 125,000 to $ 175,000. If you are elected to North Cowichan Council, what positive, concrete steps would you take to bring both rental housing and affordable homes for purchase to North Cowichan?
Affordable Housing is a major concern of mine. The lack of it -- which is not only caused by pricing, but also by the lack of living-wage jobs -- is one of the reasons I'm running. Though my ancestors helped to build this island (after the First Nations), my kids can't afford to live here.
I've been participating in the Regional Affordable Housing Directorate for the last seven months. Many local agencies and governments share our concern, and my hope is that we can make a significant move forward on this front during the next council term.
The Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District, along with Social Planning Cowichan is asking key community stakeholders to help create a Request for Proposals (RFP), for developing an affordable housing solution for the region. I have been asked to be a part of this.
Creating affordable housing is the only reason I supported the Curling Club purchase. All the expenses of the club's facilities will be born by them -- while the adjacent two acres, which the taxpayers of North Cowichan bought at 1/3 of assessed value, can be used for affordable housing. The location is ideal, near schools and transit.
Safe, affordable housing is the foundation of communities; thus, it's an essential part of "smart growth" and a healthy local economy. With a stable place to call home, people can build healthy families and communities.
We all have a right to live in a safe, secure home we can afford.
Yet for those of us with moderate incomes, finding safe, affordable housing in North Cowichan is becoming a challenge. And for those of us with lower incomes, it's almost impossible.
We have a critical shortage of "non-market" housing for families, seniors and differently-abled adults. And market housing prices are out of reach for too many of us. This contributes to our region's unacceptably high level of child poverty, and our declining school enrollment.
We need to pursue innovative ways of helping people purchase homes.
When Council makes development decisions, they need to understand that what they do about housing directly affects everyone's health, safety, and overall well-being.
My Commitment if elected to council:
- Work to make North Cowichan a leader in an active network:
government agencies, community groups, non-profits, businesses
and philanthropists, all working together on housing.
- Investigate making municipal land available for non-market
- Explore ways to encourage innovative affordable-housing
models -- such as co-housing, cooperative housing and equity
co-ops. (Zoning really can have an impact here)
- Support the work of Social Planning Cowichan, and the Regional
Affordable Housing Directorate.
Creating affordable housing is one keypart of creating what I call "real economic health" -- at the same time, we need to create liveable-wage jobs.
I believe North Cowichan could be offering so much: effective public transportation, low-impact recreation, local food security, affordable housing, smart development in our vibrant growth areas, clean water, clean air, sustainable forestry practices, green businesses ... and well-paying jobs. If we have to grow, I want North Cowichan to gather people who love it here and want to protect what makes it special -- but that process can't price those of us who've brought it this far out of our homes.
Let's work together to leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren.