VICTORIA, B.C. – Local governments and the Province will use new housing needs reports to better understand and respond to long-term housing needs specific to their communities.To support this work the Province is providing $5 million over the next three years through a program administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities, along with data and guidance to support communities’ efforts. This new legislation is requiring local governments to collect data, analyze trends and present a report every five years that describes current and anticipated housing needs.“The District of Chetwynd is pleased to have support from the Province to work on a housing needs study,” said Allen Courtoreille, mayor of Chetwynd. “As a resource community, Chetwynd faces unique housing challenges due to shifting demographics, and this is an important first step to help make sure that our young people, families and seniors have the homes they need.” According to the Province, the reports will assess key housing needs, including the need for affordable housing, rental housing and homes for seniors, people with special needs, families and people at risk of homelessness. Most of the data required by local governments, such as demographics and household income levels, will be available on a single provincial website at no cost.“Empowering communities to develop housing solutions that work for them is a key part of our government’s affordable housing strategy,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Housing needs reports will provide the information that local governments, along with the Province, need to make sure that we are all creating the right kind of homes for people living in communities throughout B.C.”The new requirements were developed in consultation with an advisory group, including representatives from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, BC Stats, BC Housing, the Planning Institute of BC, the BC Non-Profit Housing Association and local governments.“Effective housing policy needs a high level of collaboration and co-operation between the various levels of governments,” said Arjun Singh, president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM). “Local governments around the province have been undertaking their own housing need studies. The new provincial requirement will increase the data available and improve its consistency among communities. UBCM is pleased to administer funding for this initiative.”Once complete, all reports will be presented to a local government council or board. The reports will also be publicly available online to anyone seeking to better understand local housing needs.The intake for the first round of funding is now open and successful local governments will be notified in summer 2019.