Affordable Housing: Building Creston's Future

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Creston is facing a challenge with housing availability and affordability. We need to continue to work collaboratively as a community to solve this complex issue! Let's continue to the conversation. Together we can make a huge impact!


Background

From 2006 to 2016, Creston's population grew 11%, reaching 5351 individuals, and from 2016-2021 Creston's population grew 4.1%, reaching 5583 people. The RDCK Housing Needs Assessment Report: Creston Community Summary (2020), states that household ownership increased 3% between 2006-2016, and household rental increased 38%, resulting in approximately 27% of Creston's households being renters. When broken down by family type, homeownership increased 6% for families without children, 17% for families with children, and 12% for singles/roommates. Comparatively, renting households increased by 22% for families without children, 35% for families with children, and 21% for singles/roommates. This suggests that more families and individuals are choosing or having to rent. Creston is experiencing a growing need for affordable housing stock, specifically rental properties.

What is Affordable Housing?

For housing to be considered affordable, less than 30% of a household's before-tax income should be spent on shelter costs. If a household is spending more than 30% they are considered to be in Core Housing Need. When that threshold is adjusted to 50%, this is known as Extreme Housing Need.

Why Affordable Housing?

Affordable, quality housing is an essential social determinant of health. The quality, accessibility, and affordability of housing have significant short-term and long-term impacts on physical and mental wellbeing. Those experiencing housing insecurity face difficult decisions, including prioritizing heating and cooling their home, access to health care, access to nutritious food, and safety.


Check out this video narrated by Natasha, our Municipal Services Coordinator and Planner, to learn more!

Creston is facing a challenge with housing availability and affordability. We need to continue to work collaboratively as a community to solve this complex issue! Let's continue to the conversation. Together we can make a huge impact!


Background

From 2006 to 2016, Creston's population grew 11%, reaching 5351 individuals, and from 2016-2021 Creston's population grew 4.1%, reaching 5583 people. The RDCK Housing Needs Assessment Report: Creston Community Summary (2020), states that household ownership increased 3% between 2006-2016, and household rental increased 38%, resulting in approximately 27% of Creston's households being renters. When broken down by family type, homeownership increased 6% for families without children, 17% for families with children, and 12% for singles/roommates. Comparatively, renting households increased by 22% for families without children, 35% for families with children, and 21% for singles/roommates. This suggests that more families and individuals are choosing or having to rent. Creston is experiencing a growing need for affordable housing stock, specifically rental properties.

What is Affordable Housing?

For housing to be considered affordable, less than 30% of a household's before-tax income should be spent on shelter costs. If a household is spending more than 30% they are considered to be in Core Housing Need. When that threshold is adjusted to 50%, this is known as Extreme Housing Need.

Why Affordable Housing?

Affordable, quality housing is an essential social determinant of health. The quality, accessibility, and affordability of housing have significant short-term and long-term impacts on physical and mental wellbeing. Those experiencing housing insecurity face difficult decisions, including prioritizing heating and cooling their home, access to health care, access to nutritious food, and safety.


Check out this video narrated by Natasha, our Municipal Services Coordinator and Planner, to learn more!

  • Rental Standards of Maintenance Bylaw

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    Are you a renter or landlord in Creston? Get to know the Rental Standards. Read our recent mail-out HERE.


  • Affordable Housing and Development Committee

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    An Affordable Housing and Development Committee Meeting has been scheduled for Monday June 13, 2022 at 1:30 pm.

    This meeting will be held in Council Chambers, located at 238-10th Avenue North, Creston B.C. and is open to the public.

    The agenda is available here: https://pub-creston.escribemeetings.com/Meeting.aspx?Id=3a19c5a2-b1c1-4eca-bc4b-9cc4ca39a6d5&Agenda=Agenda&lang=English

  • Town Council Adopts Rental Standards of Maintenance Bylaw

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    As part of the Town of Creston’s efforts to improve rental housing and support renters in a limited market, a new bylaw was adopted by Council outlining a minimum standard of rental housing in Creston.

    The Rental Standards of Maintenance Bylaw includes regulations to ensure the quality, safety, and livability of rental units addressing standards related to water leaks or damage, provision of heat, fire safety, functionality of doors and windows, pests, and mould.

    The bylaw applies to all rental properties where the Residential Tenancy Act applies in the Town of Creston. This includes rental apartments, rented condo units, secondary suites, garden suites, and unauthorized suites. It provides a detailed description of the landlord’s responsibility for repairs and maintenance of rental properties. The bylaw, which is only applicable within municipal boundaries, provides detail on minimum standards for heating systems, hot water, infestations, exterior walls, roofing, elevators, fire escapes, etc. If a landlord refuses to make certain repairs, then a Bylaw Complaint can be made to the Town of Creston. Upon complaint, the Public Safety Compliance Officer may inspect the rental property and work with the landlord to correct identified issues. This may lead the Public Safety Compliance Officer to issue warnings and fines to a landlord, or otherwise enforce the bylaw. Further, the bylaw could be used as evidence for a repair order at a Residential Tenancy Branch dispute resolution hearing.

    The bylaw aligns with existing resources provided by the Province under the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), provides clear expectations to landlords, and creates a framework to measure compliance in the Town of Creston. The Residential Tenancy Branch remains responsible for investigating complaints and enforcing Provincial standards.

    The Town of Creston does not anticipate any significant impacts to most landlords. The RTA remains the most important legislation for repairing and maintaining rental properties to comply with health, safety, and housing standards required by law. The Town of Creston Rental Standards of Maintenance Bylaw allows the municipality to support renters within the Town of Creston, giving them a recourse to ensure their housing is healthy and safe.

  • Town of Creston Hosts Affordable Housing Discussion

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    On March 9, 2022 the Town of Creston held a public meeting to discuss the Affordable Housing situation in Creston. There were 59 community members in attendance, representing a variety of local organizations and non-profits, business owners, land owners, investors, builders, developers, realtors and tenants. Town staff, Council, and RDCK Area A were also present. Chief Administrative Officer Michael Moore began the discussion by overviewing affordable housing related data, primarily based on information from the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) Housing Needs Report, released in 2020. He specifically highlighted that rental housing in the RDCK has a less than 1% vacancy rate and that current rental prices are exceeding what is affordable for community members. “Affordable Housing, by definition, means that no more than 30% of the total household income, before taxes, is spent on housing. This includes utilities, taxes and other costs associated with housing. If a household is spending 50% or more of their total household income on housing costs, they are in extreme housing need,” Moore said.

    Margaret Durnin with the Creston Valley Community Housing Society (CVCHS) spoke to the ongoing work of the CVCHS in addressing the housing affordability issue in Creston. The meeting was then opened up to attendees for input, comments, and solutions on how, as a community, we can address the affordable housing situation moving forward. The public comments underscored the complex issues our community faces with housing.

    Due to the keen response received at the meeting to generate practical solutions, staff recommended to Council that an Advisory Select Committee for affordable housing be formed. Staff will develop the Terms of Reference for this committee and advertise for committee membership in the coming weeks.

    “Affordable housing doesn’t just mean ‘low-income housing’. This is now a problem for 58% of tenants, and 12% of homeowners in Creston. It’s a complex issue that can’t be solved overnight or by any one organization. We need housing that everyone can afford. We need land, we need builders, we need investors,” said Moore following the meeting. “Most of all, we need the community to work together.”

  • Public Affordable Housing Discussion

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    The Town of Creston hosted an Affordable Housing Discussion on March 9, 2022. There was almost 60 people in attendance including: land owners, contractors, developers, realtors, businesses, organizations/non-profits and the general public. The purpose of the meeting was to educate everyone on the current situation, and to come up with ideas of how we can start moving forward as community, to solve this complex issue.

    Mike Moore, Chief Administrator for the Town spoke on the Affordable Housing issue in Creston. You can view his presentation by clicking HERE.

  • Affordable Housing In Creston

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    In 2015, the median income for owner households was $57,218 and $23,700 for renter households. Statistics Canada reported that approximately 22% of Creston residents were considered "Low Income", making less than 50% of the median household income in 2015. The RDCK report estimates that the number of unaffordable homes in Creston has grown approximately 30% from 2006 to 2016. According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), less than 1% of rentals in the RDCK were vacant in 2019. These statistics suggest that Creston is experiencing a growing need for affordable housing stock, specifically rental properties.

    Based on 2019 income estimates, a median couple household can likely afford all dwelling types in Creston (single-detached, duplex, row house, semi-detached, manufactured). However, single parents cannot reasonably afford a single-detached home, and singles cannot reasonably afford any dwelling (RDCK, 2020). The Creston Official Community Plan (2017) noted that the Creston Valley Community Housing Society identified that young families were the demographic in the greatest need of low-cost housing in 2012. The RDCK report indicated that 57% of surveyed rental households in Creston live in a home that places them outside of their financial means (based on the 2016 Census) and that renter households are about eight (8) times more likely to be in Core Housing Need, compared to those that own their home. In addition, approximately 16% of Creston renters are identified as being in Extreme Housing Need and spend more than 50% of before-tax income on shelter costs.

  • What Have We Done?

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    On January 11th, 2022, Council adopted the new Town of Creston’s Residential Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw No. 1944, 2021. A Residential Revitalization Tax Exemption (RTE) Program is a tool that may encourage rental housing development. An RTE, specifically providing tax exemptions for the construction of residential rental dwelling units, would support the development of overall housing stock, addressing one component of affordable housing. Many factors play into eligibility for the program. However, there are two key components – a new dwelling unit must be constructed, and the owner must enter into a 'Housing Agreement'. The Housing Agreement secures the rental unit for 10-15 years, ensuring long-term rentals for occupants.

    The RTE encourages:

    • Purpose Built Housing
    • Multi-family developments
    • Secondary suites

    Affordable housing is a complex issue, and there is no silver-bullet solution. However, an RTE focused on rental housing is an important measure to increase long-term rental inventory.

    In addition to the RTE, the new zoning bylaw allows for more flexibility when developing secondary suites in your home or on your property. Those choosing to build a secondary suite can take advantage of the RTE program.

    Find out more HERE

  • Where Are We Going?

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    BC Housing produced "A Scan of Leading Practices in Affordable Housing in Small Communities", outlining some of the tools at a municipalities disposal to increase affordable housing. Tools included are:

    • Inclusionary zoning and density bonusing
    • Intensification and tenure through rezoning
    • Reducing costs by streaming approvals and other incentives
    • Short-term rental regulations
    • Covenant tools


    On MARCH 9th, the Town of Creston hosted an Affordable Housing Forum. We heard from non-profit groups, developers, businesses, and general members of the public. We heard about the challenges the community is facing and began brainstorming ideas on how we can create change. We look forward to establishing a Select Committee who will act on stakeholders behalf to collectively lay the ground work for short and long term solutions.

    The Town of Creston looks forward to building our 'affordable housing toolbox', and engaging with you!

  • What Can You Do?

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    1. STAY ENGAGED - we will continue to move this discussion forward on this page, the advance, newsletters and more!
    2. Upon release of the new zoning bylaw, take advantage of building a secondary suite in your home or on your property
    3. Apply for the Residential Revitalization Tax Exemption Program
    4. Continue to learn and engage with us to make your housing needs heard
Page last updated: 18 Aug 2022, 09:43 AM