Burnaby’s renters and young people are the groups most worried about housing affordability, a new report from the city’s housing task force shows.
The What We Heard report summarizes findings from the information-gathering phase of the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Housing, also referred to as Your Voice. Your Home: Meeting the Housing Needs of Burnaby Residents.
There were 2,380 engagements with residents so far, including 1,450 survey responses, a 100-person workshop, 400 people reached by students canvassing the city and conversations with “key community stakeholders.”
“I’m thrilled with the number of people who have shared their thoughts and ideas so far,” Mayor Mike Hurley said in a statement. “Housing is such an important issue for people and affects them in unique ways depending upon where they are in life. I want to thank residents for the important insights they’ve shared.”
According to the report, there was a wide variety of responses to the process, but some key themes emerged. Residents said they were worried about the availability of rental housing, a lack of variety in housing size, speculation, the gap between incomes and housing costs and a loss of quality of life.
Many respondents expressed a fear of displacement via demovictions or renovictions.
“Too many demovictions – too much development that removes low cost housing,” an unnamed respondent is quoted as saying. “The amount of homeless people therefore has increased – most of these are seniors – it is a very sad situation.”
The relationship between income and housing tenure is pretty clear in Burnaby: the more you make, the more likely you are to own your home.— Kelvin☕Gawley (@KelvinGawley) April 11, 2019
This data from recent survey part of the city's housing task force. #vanre #vanpoli pic.twitter.com/s6VMUJe4f5
The survey results showed a strong correlation between household income and housing tenure. Seventy-nine per cent of residents with an annual household income below $20,000 and 57 per cent of those making between $20,000 and $34,999 identified themselves as renters, while 80 per cent of individuals with a household income exceeding $100,000 owned their homes.
Renters, who accounted for 33 per cent of survey respondents, were much more likely to be worried about their housing security. Most renters (64 per cent) said they felt they may need to move within the next 10 years due to housing affordability. Only 14 per cent of homeowners said the same.
Co-op housing is by far the most affordable type of tenure in the city, according to survey respondents. A whopping 86 per cent of co-op residents said find it affordable, compared to 65 per cent of homeowners and 52 per cent of renters. But only three per cent of respondents said they live in a co-op.
The task force also asked residents what they want to see done about the city’s housing issues.
Many Burnaby residents want to see greater government oversight and regulation, as well as “greater responsibility” from developers.
"Food, shelter and health care are human rights,” one respondent said. “(The) City of Burnaby needs to take every step necessary to get them out of the free market and provide roofs for low-income families.”
Others called for more density in single-family neighbourhoods and allowing laneway homes.
Kelvin Gawley, reporter