A lack of rental housing, combined with the prevalence of short-term rentals, is causing some residents to live in “inadequate or unsafe” housing, according to a report for Sicamous District.
In June 2021, the district engaged CitySpaces Consulting to complete a Housing Needs Report. The full report was submitted to the district on Jan. 18 and will be considered by the board at its Jan. 26 meeting.
The report begins with an executive summary detailing some of CitySpaces key findings, determined through research and community engagement.
According to CitySpaces, long-term rental housing is difficult to find at any time of the year, and an increasing number of units offered for short-term rental is affecting the cost and availability of housing in Sicamous.
“Residents are resorting to living in motels and RVs as long-term alternatives…families are living in tents during the summer seasons as they lose their homes to the short-term rental pool,” it reads. in the report.
Without affordable rental options needed to attract skilled/seasonal employees, CitySpaces has found that local businesses are “struggling to operate at full capacity.”
According to the report, groups with a “big challenge” in finding affordable housing in Sicamous are seasonal workers, singles, young adults and “renters of all shapes”. Additionally, seniors looking to downsize and age in their community were noted as a group having difficulty finding suitable housing.
Gaps of CitySpaces found in the Sicamous housing market include a lack of secure rental housing on the market, low-end rental housing on the market, and non-market housing (shelters, safe, transitional and supportive homes) .
CitySpaces estimates that 260 homes will need to be added to Sicamous’ housing supply by 2026 to keep up with population growth.
The consulting firm cites Statistics Canada, BC Assessment, BC Housing and BC Statistics as sources of quantitative data for its report. An online survey, virtual workshops with stakeholders, key informant interviews, and meetings with city staff were cited as qualitative sources.
“Organizations engaged included nonprofits and community organizations, local builders and developers, representatives of Indigenous communities, and the public,” reads the report, which can be found in its entirety on the website of the municipality.