The Village of Pemberton has been undertaking some work on affordable housing, updating the information on hand from the previous 2009 data, and filling in gaps from the Affordable Housing Background Report, July 2019 with a lens specifically on Seniors.
Now, the Village would like your feedback on its DRAFT Age-Friendly Affordable Housing Needs Assessment.
Your feedback will help inform this Assessment, which will then feed into an Affordable Housing Action Plan, which will identify and prioritize municipal actions to address local housing gaps.
So, this is an important time to share your input:
Link to survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VoPAffordablehousing
The DRAFT Age-Friendly Affordable Housing Needs Assessment is 34 pages long: https://www.pemberton.ca/public/download/files/92516
Here are a few key points from both reports to provide context:
- The Village of Pemberton’s population of 2,574 (Census, 2016), increased by 17.4% over the past 10 years.
- Housing hasn’t increased to keep up with the population – in the past 10 years, new housing grew by less than 10%
- The total number of dwellings in the Village in 2016 is 1,028
- After a soft 10 years, construction is now on the rise (understatement!) — 6 developments are currently planned or underway in the Village of Pemberton (The Ridge at Pemberton, Sunstone Ridge, Tiyata Village, the Crestline, Radius and Orion), adding 126 new units and 162 new lots (a 30% increase to the housing stock.)
- In Pemberton in 2009, low cost market housing was limited to secondary suites in detached houses. In 2018, the Village saw the completion of a new purpose-built forty-five (45) unit rental apartment building (Radius) which has an extensive waitlist, with another similar project (Orion) slated to be completed in 2019, adding an additional forty-five (45) units of market apartments.
- Housing prices have increased significantly over the past 2 years. As have rents. Rent is 50 – 75% more expensive now than it was in 2009.
- The number of people renting in Pemberton has dropped over the past 10 years, from 35% of the population to 23%. But the demand is huge, especially for affordable rental spaces. Meeting the demand is not easy – secondary suites tend to be on the flood plain and more owners are opting for short-term rentals through Air BnB
- A shortage of rental housing in the community has been felt by local businesses as their employees have struggled to secure suitable, affordable rental housing.
- The Village is obliged to create a Housing Needs Assessment report by 2022, and update it every 5 years
- 20% of Pemberton’s population is a senior (over 50 years of age)
- The prognosis for quality of life as a senior is good if you’re well-off but very challenging if you’re financially insecure.
- The cost of housing in Pemberton is now so high that it is challenging for most seniors to buy here. Most senior single- person households would need to spend between 30% – 50% of their monthly income to afford average rental prices in Pemberton.
- Currently, Pemberton only has one dedicated seniors housing development, with 30 units managed and operated by the Pemberton Lions Activities Society, referred to as the Lions Villa. This senior’s housing development currently has a 75-person waitlist, which is indicative of increasing demand; however, this waitlist does include persons from outside the community.
My summary is this: people are getting squeezed out of Pemberton, particular long-time locals, and it’s going to get worse. Housing is getting more expensive and that affects everyone who isn’t rich (and therefore better insulated from the experience of aging).
Or, in the language of the report (see page 22):
“Pemberton residents are experiencing challenges in the housing market, which is indicative of the broader trends demonstrated in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, and across B.C. As this Housing Needs Assessment has been completed with an age-friendly lens, seniors form an important priority group, particularly given the aging demographics. There is also a trend of grandparents moving to Pemberton to be closer to their children and help with child-care given the Village’s severe shortage of daycare spaces. However, through the course of stakeholder consultation, additional priority groups were identified. Given the rising rental prices and low vacancy rates, low-income households are struggling to secure affordable and suitable rental accommodation. Stakeholders expressed a need to accommodate Pemberton employees, as business have experienced challenges recruiting and retaining staff, given the limited availability of affordable rental housing… In a stressed rental market, with limited purpose-built rental housing stock, moderate income families are close to being able to afford homeownership, but remain priced out of the housing market, particularly for single-detached homes… Businesses are struggling to retain staff able to afford to live in Pemberton when making close to minimum wage. There are concerns young people will leave Pemberton because of housing affordability. Moderate-income seniors are struggling to find suitable, affordable housing…. The manager of the Lions Villa indicated there have been more people displaced from housing in recent years due to rent increases, and while these individuals may not be visibly experiencing homelessness, there are increasing accounts of residents sleeping on couches or living in RVs.”
We have some massive housing and infrastructure gaps, and this report helps identify them. If you feel that, share your thoughts in the survey.
As a community, if we want diversity and vitality, we need to plan now, to provide options for a wider range of people, including the less affluent/more vulnerable people in our community (single or lower income families and folk, the disabled, health-challenged, or those who have experienced addiction).
Link to survey (this will take you to the Survey Monkey website): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VoPAffordablehousing