Housing report

Housing report highlights dire need in Richmond

City staff told council that the federal and provincial governments need to increase funding in order to address the affordability crisis.

Ninety-five percent of Richmond residents cannot afford a home in the city today, if they don’t already own one.

Ninety percent of Richmond residents could not afford a townhouse in Richmond, and 80% could not afford a condo.

These are some of the statistics from the Housing Needs Report, compiled by City of Richmond staff, which will be submitted to the provincial government by April.

The report identifies many issues regarding housing affordability in Richmond, including how out of reach buying a home is for most residents, as well as the lack of affordable rental housing, such as subsidized housing or cooperatives.

But, at a planning meeting Thursday, City of Richmond staff laid the blame for the supported rental housing shortage on the feet of the federal and provincial governments.

Joe Erceg, chief executive of planning and development for the City of Richmond, has repeatedly told the council’s planning committee that changing policies at the municipal level to provide relief from the housing crisis will not solve the problem. Instead, federal and provincial governments must provide regular funding for affordable housing, something that hasn’t been done in decades.

Erceg said a review of the Official Community Plan (OCP) – due to start in the new year – will focus on housing, including affordable housing.

“The city can and should do all it can to produce affordable housing, but — and I’m going to sound like a broken record here — you can’t solve this problem with city politics alone,” Erceg told the committee. of planning.

But to get top government funding, there must first be a strong commitment from the municipality, said Tiffany Duzita, executive director of the Community Land Trust, which owns land on a not-for-profit basis to largely develop it. in Vancouver.

In a previous interview with the Richmond News, as a resident of Richmond, she said she feels the city is falling behind other municipalities where affordable housing is being pulled from the private sector.

De Whalen, chair of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition, which represents 10 local nonprofits, told the planning committee that the report confirms what they’ve heard on the ground in Richmond.

She pointed out that 52% of people using the Richmond Food Bank are renting on the market and having to spend money that should go to food on rent.

Affordability was examined in two ways in the report. First, he looked at the housing-to-income ratio, which showed that 25% of all Richmond households spent more than 30% of their income on housing.

The second measure was “core housing need”, that is, households whose housing is inadequate because it is too small or in poor condition.

In 2016, 20% of Richmond households fell into the latter category.

Meanwhile, 6,140 households were in “extreme core housing need”, meaning they were spending more than 50% of their income on housing.

These figures are from 2016, the last time statistics were available.

The report also notes that from 2006 to 2016, the cost of rent rose 4.5 times faster than household incomes. And the cost of buying a home rose 77%, while incomes were “virtually unchanged”.

A third of renters are struggling to find affordable housing and low-income households are having “significant difficulty” getting market rents they can afford.

Long waiting lists for affordable housing, such as BC Housing units, compound the problem.