BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA)

BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA)
Vancity

Vancity

November 17, 2014 13:56 ET

New Rental Housing Index Shows Crisis Level of Spending in British Columbia

BC Non-Profit Housing Association Launches Innovative 'Rental Housing Index' That Brings Crucial Rental Data to the Forefront.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 17, 2014) - In British Columbia, almost half of all renter households are paying more than 30 percent of their gross income on rent, according to new data released today from the Rental Housing Index. Even more concerning, nearly one quarter of British Columbians are paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent, putting them at a crisis level of spending.1 Both of these numbers show that more British Columbians are facing a serious affordability crunch.

The results come from the Rental Housing Index, a new interactive map of rental data launched today by the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) at their annual conference. The Index, developed in partnership with Vancity credit union, is one of the first in its kind—and examines issues of income, affordability and overcrowding across nearly 100 communities in B.C. The Rental Housing Index will provide housing planners, non-profit housing developers and all levels of government with customized data and other critical information they need to plan for future housing needs in the province.

Tony Roy, executive director of BC Non-Profit Housing Association stated, "This is a chance to look at the province through the eyes of renters. Many know their rent is too high, but feel like they don't have a choice but to pay up. We're not building more rental housing, so renters are forced to overspend, living in overcrowded or deteriorated conditions, or they become homeless. It's a shame because it's far cheaper to plan for more rental housing than to deal with the huge costs linked to homelessness, on the health and justice systems. If we don't invest in affordable housing today, we end up paying a much higher price down the road."

Linda Morris, senior vice-president of Vancity added, "The Rental Housing Index findings demonstrate that almost one of every two renters in British Columbia do not have access to adequate and reasonably priced housing. These findings point to the need to develop affordable housing alternatives through a variety of tools ranging from policy changes to developing new partnerships that include land and capital investments."

NOT JUST A BIG CITY ISSUE

The overall findings from the RHI underscore the greater need for more funding of affordable rental housing developments throughout the province. The RHI also reveals that affordable rental housing is not only a big city issue—many renter households in small towns and communities across BC are financially struggling. Smaller communities such as Duncan and Sooke are seeing upwards of 30 percent of their renter population spending more than half of their income on rent.

This is the first time that substantial data regarding the state of rental housing in BC has been collected and housed for public use in one, easily accessible place. To learn more about the RHI, please visit www.rentalhousingindex.ca.

About BCNPHA:

BCNPHA is the industry association for the social housing sector in BC. It represents, educates and provides service to more than 700 non-profit housing providers that operate more than 60,000 units of long and short-term affordable housing across the province. www.bcnpha.ca.

About Vancity:

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 501,000 member-owners and their communities through 58 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. As Canada's largest community credit union, Vancity uses its $17.5 billion in assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

1 A household paying more than 30 per cent of its pre-tax income for housing is considered to have affordability problems, according to Statistics Canada. Homeownership and Shelter Costs in Canada, Statistics Canada.

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