Calling the City of Penticton’s latest move on affordable housing proactive is a little misleading since we are already deep into a housing crisis.
Penticton isn’t alone in having a shortage of affordable housing. Communities across the province — and across the country — are experiencing similar problems.
To help alleviate the problem, the Province of B.C. is throwing some money at the problem, and Penticton is getting out the catcher’s mitt, taking a pre-emptive approach to ensure the community is ready to snag some of that funding by helping community-based not-for-profit housing providers prepare project plans in advance, ensuring that we are standing first in line, shovels in hand, when the money begins to flow.
That might be better described as pre-emptive rather than proactive, but whatever you want to call it, it’s a good idea.
As city plans go, the cash needed is relatively minor; city staff is projecting grants of up to $5,000 per housing provider to hire development consultants.
Penticton has already been selected for 52 units of provincially-funded modular housing earmarked for homeless and at-risk. Penticton may not be experiencing a housing crisis on the same level as Vancouver, but there is no doubt it is very real and very much a problem.
Studies by 100 Homes Penticton and the city’s own Housing Needs Assessment show the extent of the problem. Even for those who have found a rental, nearly two in five are living in inadequate housing, according to the 2016 report. That includes those living in spaces that are too expensive, too small, or in need of repair.
Bringing more units of affordable rentals into the Penticton housing market would help offset that problem. It’s not a problem that is going to be solved overnight — possibly not ever — but being ready to take advantage of any way to improve the situation can only be a good move.