We completed the survey of renters with 30 responses, which is 75% of the 40 rental households as reported in the recent Southern Gulf Islands Housing Assessment of February 2018.
Here are some of the highlights
27% live in housing that needs major repairs, but only 17% say they are “not satisfied” (perhaps because the others are happy to have any rental on the island in the current conditions)
77% are paying more than 1/3 of their income on housing – which by the definition used by housing analysts meaning that they do not have “affordable housing”. However 17% are paying more than ½ which is defined as “at risk of homelessness”
We also received some comments, including:
“Nowhere to rent for a small family”, “I have sometimes been terrified that I wouldn't find a good place”, “...I was wondering if you know of any rentals coming up. Our house is going up for sale soon ...It’s for myself and kids"
It’s not all bad though, for instance: “I love my home and my landlord is amazing”
Broadly speaking about ¼ are in good situations, ½ are struggling and another ¼ are having a really hard time.
As you can see from the comments above the stress is coming from two sources, one of getting by with tight finances and secondly being forced to move and the anxiety of not knowing if you’re going to find a place.
Some good news is that the Housing Society is making headway in a couple of areas.
The Housing Society has made application to the Capital Regional District for a Grant in Aid for seed funding to pay for incidental expenses, and project planning which we expect to receive in the second half of July.
We are in discussions with the CRD and BC Housing who are both highly motivated to help us address this problem. Additionally we have identified several land parcels that look suitable and discussions with the owners of two of these have shown strong interest.
Thirdly, Richard Iredale has agreed to stand for election to our board bringing very relevant skills and experience to us.
We have also had discussions with some of the other island stakeholders, specifically that we are in agreement that whatever is created must be an asset, not a liability, for the island.
As we said last month, if you want to help, there are several options:
Andrew Smith, for The Mayne Island Housing Society