New report paints picture of prominent rental housing shortage in Revelstoke

While findings of the Housing Needs and Demands Assessment aren’t surprising, the report is key to obtaining grant funding for affordable housing projects.

The Oscar Street town homes are some of Revelstoke's only current affordable housing. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

The findings of a new housing needs report are unlikely to come as a surprise for many, but city of Revelstoke staff say the Housing Needs and Demands Assessment report is an essential step when it comes to defining new housing targets.

The issue of housing availability and affordability has plagued Revelstoke for years with few solutions being realized. The Revelstoke Community Housing Society operates the Oscar Street Town Homes, one of the few affordable rental housing developments in Revelstoke, and recently received a grant through Columbia Basin Trust that will go towards building a 21-unit affordable housing project.

The HNDA report, completed by Dillon Consulting, provides affordability ranges based on income levels, identifies affordability targets for new housing, identifies gaps and oversupplies in the existing stock, and projects future housing need based on current income levels and expected population growth. You can read a final draft of the report here.

City of Revelstoke planner Daniel Sturgeon said the HNDA is a key document that provides necessary background information on the development of affordable housing policies, including an Affordable Housing Strategy.

“The final report paints a picture of a prominent rental housing shortage in Revelstoke; unsuitability of current housing stock to meet affordability ranges; a lack of housing options for individuals and temporary residents; a lack of housing diversity; and, a need for new housing that can accommodate young families but still meet affordability ranges. Additionally, demand for senior’s housing will increase as the population ages,” Sturgeon wrote in a report to council.

Recently there has been discussion on applying for grant funding to assist in the development of affordable housing projects. Sturgeon said in the report that an HNDA is normally a requirement when applying for grants that support the development of affordable housing. He also suggests copies of the HNDA could be provided to developers to assist them in making decisions around various housing developments.

Next steps for staff involve preparing a request for proposals for a housing strategy and continuing to pursue funding opportunities through various regional, provincial and federal agencies for the development of affordable housing.

Revelstoke city council will have an opportunity to discuss the report at the upcoming regular council meeting on Tuesday, August 28.