By 2028 it is anticipated the Central Cariboo will need up to 817 new units of housing.
That’s the finding of a housing needs assessment completed for the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and the city of Williams Lake, which was discussed at Tuesday evening’s city council meeting.
“A central finding from this Housing Capacity and Gap Analysis is the sudden, swift change in market conditions in recent years and the impact it is having on various households in the region,” said the city’s economic development officer Beth Veenkamp in a report city council received and endorsed.
CitySpaces Consulting Ltd. was hired to do the research, began collecting data in September 2020 and has submitted a final report.
The report found groups experiencing the greatest challenges finding and affording housing include: retiring seniors; single-parent households; single people; youth, young adults and students; low-income households; people with mental health support needs or experiencing substance use issues; people experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness; the workforce; and, Indigenous households.
Additionally, housing gaps identified include: year-round low-barrier emergency shelter; transitional housing for persons experiencing homelessness; transitional housing for persons experiencing substance use issues including detox beds; supportive housing; youth safe house; market rental housing; short-term rental and workforce accommodation; alternative housing typologies; and culturally appropriate housing for Indigenous household.
AppeThe consultant also prepared a report on potential sites that were identified by the CRD and the city where new housing could be developed.
They included Poplar Glade School property at 845 Eleventh Avenue, adding housing to the Slumber Lodge, 2.0 hectares of Boitanio Park behind the mall, Patrick Reid Park on Boundary Street, near Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake Campus, a 1.2 hectare site located close to Mountview Elementary School and a 9.2 hectare site in Anahim Lake.
Incidentally, a plan has already underway by the owner of the Slumber Lodge to build two four-unit housing complexes.
Eighteen strategies were suggested to address the housing gaps ranging from scaling up the non-profit housing sector to formulating partnerships as well as canvassing potential housing operators for their interest in housing projects.
Veenkamp said a video about the study will be available on the city’s website soon and said the report is interesting as it is an outside analysis of the local community.