It’s a much-needed form of affordable housing that can ensure neighbourhoods are inclusive.
That’s what Housing Be Mine president Shirley-Ann Reid told council this week during the public hearing on amendments to the city’s secondary suite policy, changes that were approved by council following the hearing.
Describing suites as a form of low-impact densification that maintain community character, Reid told council there’s currently around 425 adults in Delta with intellectual disabilities who will need homes within the next few years as many of their parents whom they’re currently living with are aging.
Noting the city needs to decrease barriers to accessibility and affordability for people of varying abilities, she said parents are concerned about their children’s futures and whether they’ll be able to remain in their home communities.
Reid also noted ground-oriented homes offer a solution to those individuals’ who experience physical accessibility restrictions, and that suites are in established neighbourhoods that are close to amenities such as recreation facilities, medical, dental, shopping and transportation.
“Ultimately, the amendments are extremely important in resolving Delta’s housing crisis. Equally important, secondary suites are an integral part of an inclusive affordable community that embraces diversity,” said Reid.
The society also noted that even support workers are having difficulty finding affordable housing options in the community they work.
Released last spring, a comprehensive community and housing profile report for Delta noted participants during community consultations spoke about the significant need for inclusive housing for people with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities as well as seniors needing supports.
Parents of children with developmental disabilities expressed concern over the housing options for their children as those parents age or pass away, the report noted, adding there’s few affordable housing options.
Out of approximately 23,600 single detached lots in Delta, removing the lot width requirement would allow secondary suites on approximately 1,950 additional lots, provided that three off-street parking spaces could be provided and B.C. Building Code requirements are met, according to the planning department.
The City of Delta is also undertaking a housing action plan, which should be completed in the next few months.
Having opportunities for more inclusive housing is among the goals of the upcoming housing strategy.