Kent will be undertaking a study to look at housing needs in the district.
On Monday, Nov. 25, council voted to apply for a grant that would allow the district to develop a Housing Needs Assessment Report, which would look at the current and future housing priorities in the district.
The assessment will combine statistical data and information from stakeholder groups to paint a picture of what the housing requirements are in the district now and into the future. The assessment will include information on affordable housing, rentals, senior housing and how different economic groups are able to access the market.
“It may not come up with all the solutions, but it at least gives you an idea of what the problems are,” director of development services Darcey Kohuch said.
“Staff and council will be able to see this and think ‘What do we need to work on in the future when we’re looking at future land use decisions.’”
Starting in April of this year, municipalities are required to develop a housing needs report every five years to help staff understand what kinds of housing are most needed in their community. Harrison Hot Springs applied for the same grant in June of this year, and have already begun public and stakeholder consultation for the report.
The final deadline for the UBCM grant for the assessment is Nov. 29; if the application is approved, the district will receive up to $20,000 for the completion of the project.
The $20,000 grant money would pay for the base cost of the study, which will be undertaken by Urban Matters, a subsidiary of Urban Systems, which has worked on Kent’s OCP, the development cost charges bylaw and the industrial plan in the past. However, council also voted to spend an additional $6,500 to bring in more face-to-face meetings with stakeholders about housing needs in the district.
The district currently has $35,000 set aside in the 2020 budget for this project, and there is no timeline on when the district could be hearing about the grant application results.