Sep 2021 | Housing
Earlier this year, The City of Nanaimo released the Renter and Landlord Survey results from REIMAGINE NANAIMO. The survey was open for three weeks, gathering 465 results from renters and almost 400 responses from property managers and landlords. Here’s what was found.
“One of the key stats that stood out for all of us, in terms of the survey, was the amount of income that folks are spending on rent in Nanaimo,” said social planner Dave Stewart.
“30 percent is the threshold for B.C. Housing, [Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation] and rental experts in general use as an affordability calculator,” Stewart said. “If you’re spending more than 30 percent of your income on rent, your housing is not affordable. So, what this tells us is that 80 percent of those respondents do not have affordable housing.”Source: Nanaimo Bulletin
The survey results provide a clear insight into unaffordable rentals in Nanaimo. The consequence of unaffordable rent is renters being vulnerable to financial pressure and are then forced into choosing between housing and other basic needs such as transport, medical care, food, childcare, and more.
With rent being unaffordable for many households in Nanaimo, renters often opt for financial support. Despite this, residents of Nanaimo still struggle to find housing as few landlords and property managers rent to individuals who receive support. The issue of lack of availability for rental units in Nanaimo was also highlighted alongside the overwhelming amount of applications many landlords receive.
The current rental vacancy rate is 1.0% – a healthy vacancy rate is 5% – the low vacancy rate means there are very few available rental units in Nanaimo.Source: CMHC – Nanaimo rental vacancy rate October 2019
There are many Governments, organizations and task forces working to omit the current housing affordability crisis in Nanaimo:
- The Nanaimo Homeless Coalition is a united voice of non-profit organizations, governments and citizens who formed Nanaimo’s Action Plan to End Homelessness and work closely with the social sector, First Nations and government to encourage action to address homelessness.
- The City of Nanaimo’s Health & Housing Task Force worked with partner organizations, including the NHC, to develop a 5-year Health and Housing Action Plan. The plan was endorsed by Nanaimo City Council in February 2021. A governance is being formed to implement the plan.
- The Provincial Government is funding affordable rentals in Nanaimo. Work is underway to create more housing and 180 new rental homes are beginning construction.
- The Provincial Government manages housing solutions through BC Housing. A new investment by BC Housing will create over 300 new affordable homes in Nanaimo, including new permanent, purpose-built supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness and new affordable rental homes for individuals, seniors and families.
- The Federal Government is providing financial investments of $55 billion over the next decade to address housing affordability and homelessness through the National Housing Strategy. Nanaimo receives $626,000 per year in designated funds and $256,000 in Indigenous funds.
- United Way British Columbia supports and funds agencies that are working to address housing affordability and homelessness. UWBC is the Community Entity (CE) for the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, acting as a liaison for Federal Government funding. With guidance from the Nanaimo Community Advisory Board , those funds are invested to help end homelessness.
Support for renters
There are many local programs and resources available which help people find housing:
- City’s Affordable Housing Strategy
- John Howard BC – Rent Bank
- Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society – Housing Options
- Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy
- BC Housing – Rental Assistance Progam
- 285 Prideaux Street – Supportive Housing
Find out more about REIMAGINE NANAIMO here.
Access the full Renter and Landlord Experience Survey report here for more in-depth information and for the full findings of their research.
Discover The City of Nanaimo’s infographics from their Renter and Landlord Experience Survey below.