Affordable housing strategy nears completion

Abbotsford’s Affordable Housing Strategy took another step toward completion on Monday as council examined a proposed draft of the document.

It is being developed in response to the ongoing challenge of creating more affordable housing options in the city.

Abbotsford’s Affordable Housing Strategy took another step toward completion on Monday as council examined a proposed draft of the document.

It is being developed in response to the  ongoing challenge of creating more affordable housing options in the city.

Affordable housing is defined as any home or rental property that costs 30 per cent or less of the gross household income.

According to the stats contained in the staff presentation, from 1991 to 2010, the average household income rose by 41 per cent while rental costs rose by 36 per cent. However, the value of homes rose 206 per cent making ownership more challenging than ever before.

The strategy identifies five main objectives: Preserve existing affordable housing units, build new affordable housing units, improve people’s ability to afford housing, create livable neighbourhoods and pursue senior government, the private sector and community agencies for partnerships.

A final strategy should be complete by the end of October, after the city holds a series of public consultations in September.

“I’m confident that it will be well received,” said Abbotsford Mayor George Peary.

He said the city has long been a front-runner in developing affordable housing options. He recalled that the former District of Matsqui – which amalgamated with Abbotsford in 1995 – was the first community in the Lower Mainland to legalize secondary suites.