The City of Delta is moving closer to having a new housing action plan.
In the works for a couple of years, including gathering public feedback, the plan is aimed at increasing the variety and affordability of housing in Delta.
Staff already identified several key themes based on early feedback, including: expanding rental options, housing young people and families, supporting aging in place, supporting more integrated supportive housing options, supporting density and community character, and exploring innovative approaches to housing.
Community planning director Marcy Sangret told the Optimist staff are currently reviewing the additional community feedback provided in the recent Housing Action Plan Questionnaire.
Staff expect to report to council in February on the feedback results and proposed directions for the housing action plan, she said, adding they will follow-up in the spring with a further report and a draft action plan.
Planning staff will then seek council’s direction to undertake more public consultation on the draft document.
Sangret also noted the goal is to have a final housing action plan ready for council’s consideration during the first part of 2021.
The final plan will include an implementation component.
Meanwhile, a group created by the B.C. and federal governments in 2019 called the Expert Housing Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability recently released its interim report on measures to help more people find affordable housing in British Columbia.
That report on the feedback gathered focuses on governance, or the way in which governments control or influence the supply of housing, as well as the diversity of housing for all income levels and tenures, and also accelerating and adding certainty to the process for adding new supply.
"We are hearing loud and clear there is a crisis among working people who need decent housing that is affordable and meets their needs, whether it be for sale or for rent. It is simply not available," said panel chair Joy MacPhail in a news release. "Our interim report is pointing to solutions in the short, medium and long term. We intend to continue our public consultations and then provide informed recommendations to all levels of government."
The province notes the panel sought insights and ideas from experts, academics, researchers, urban planners, urban economists, Indigenous peoples, municipal housing policymakers and members of the public familiar with the housing challenges in B.C., and similar high-priced housing markets around the world.
The province also notes that, while the level of engagement has been robust, due to the unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the panel has announced public consultations will continue until Jan. 15.
The panel has posted the interim What We Heard report on its website - https://engage.gov.bc.ca/housingaffordability/ - and will provide a final report and recommendations to the federal and provincial governments in spring 2021.