Penticton's demographics aren't helping efforts to provide affordable housing

Jill Atkey, acting CEO and managing director of the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association speaks to around 100 participants at the Affordable Housing Symposium in Penticton, Wednesday, March 28, 2018.

PENTICTON - Stakeholders from throughout the region interested in creating more affordable housing heard Penticton has some issues to overcome at a symposium today.

“Our reality is we have above the provincial average of those over 65, above the provincial average of population on social assistance of some sort, and below the provincial average for annual household income,” Mayor Andrew Jakubeit says, describing Penticton’s unenviable situation with respect to creating housing affordability.

He said those factors helped make affordable housing a difficult proposition for some, and nearly impossible for others.

Jakubeit defined affordable housing as accommodations that cost an individual no more than 30 per cent of their income

Calling housing a major concern in creating a sustainable community, Jakubeit noted a broad number of options were needed, including both market and non-market housing.

The Affordable Housing Forum at Penticton Lakeside Resort today, March 28, brought politicians, members of charitable and non-profit organizations and other housing groups together to hear how they might partner with higher levels of government and see how local affordable housing initiatives might fit in with the recently announced National Housing Strategy.

Jakubeit says higher levels of government “liked to see skin in the game,” something the city now had through development of a collective that was making a difference locally, even though affordable housing involved a number of social and economic factors beyond local control.

He says today’s meeting was being conducted in the hopes of getting everyone working on the same page.

“Once wheels begin turning it’s easy to create some momentum. I hope today will cause an idea to spark among you, and we can rally together towards options that have a collective impact on housing affordability in Penticton,” Jakubeit says.

Other speakers included B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association acting CEO Jill Atkey, B.C. Housing director Ann Howard, Society of Hope executive director Luke Stack, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Fund consultant Lance Jakubec and Fortis B.C. manager Carol Susan.

Planning manager Blake Laven also addressed the group on behalf of the City of Penticton, along with Coun. Judy Sentes, who provided closing remarks.

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