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Executive Summary _doc_ - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


									                                EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1. Introduction
   Providence Farm is a therapeutic community, on 400 acres, leased from the Sisters of St.
   Ann, in the Cowichan Valley, near Duncan, BC. With the support of the Providence Farm
   Board of Directors and the Sisters of Saint Ann, a Planning and Development Group, is
   currently working to establish an exemplary residential community on 17 acres at the Farm
   that is diverse, balanced, affordable and that supports healthy relationships among all
   aspects of the personal, social, and physical environments. The Housing Need and Demand
   Study is part of the planning process.

2. Scope Of The Study
   The intent of the Study was to: provide clear quantitative and qualitative information
   concerning need and demand; and, make recommendations showing the priority with which
   the project should respond to the needs and demands of the various target groups. Primary
   target groups include seniors and people with special needs, and possibly others, such as
   families and individuals interested in housing forms that are supportive of the Village.
   The report includes the following: community and catchment area background/ contextual
   information; recent demographic, economic, and housing information and analysis;
   population and housing demand projections; a description and analysis of target group
   needs and demand and the factors impacting needs and demand (e.g. group
   characteristics, values and interests, community interaction, location; site constraints, and
   existing and new development).

3. Approach
   To fulfill the objectives of the Study, the following activities were undertaken: collection,
   compilation, and analysis of statistical data; interviews with key stakeholders, informants,
   and representatives of prospective resident groups (see Attachment 1); and a literature

4. Description Of The Catchment Area
   The catchment area for Providence Farm is the Cowichan Valley, particularly those areas
   located in the District of North Cowichan and Local Health Area (LHA) 65. The Study
   provides a brief overview of each of these areas. The Cowichan Valley Regional District
   (CVRD, located between the Capital and Nanaimo Regional Districts on Vancouver Island,
   covers an area of approximately 373,000 hectares and in 2005 had an estimated population
   of 78,802. The CVRD includes the municipalities of Duncan, North Cowichan, Ladysmith,
   and Lake Cowichan and nine Electoral Areas. Agriculture and forestry are the economic
   backbone of the area, combined with a full range of recreational, tourism, and business

5. The Demographic/ Social Context
      Population and Growth
       In the decade between 1986 and 1996, the CVRD experienced significant growth –
       18,403 people over those 10 years. This pattern levelled off after 1997. Between 1996
       and 2001, the CVRD grew more slowly than the provincial average – 1.4% as compared
       to 5.5% over the five year period. Growth rates within the region have varied
       considerably over the years.
      Population Age and Gender
       The CVRD‟s age profile is somewhat distinct from that of the province as a whole. The
       District has a larger proportion of residents under the age of 20 and over 44 and
       considerably fewer residents between the ages of 20 and 40 (due perhaps to out-
       migration of people in the labour force). Due to a growing retirement community and the
       aging of the Baby Boom generation, the median age of the population has been getting
       older and is slightly higher than the British Columbia median age. The elderly and child
       dependency ratios are higher in this region than for the province as a whole, partly a
       result of a substantially higher fertility rate. Females significantly outnumber males in the
       25-44 and 65+ age groups.

      Families and Households
       The CVRD has more lone parent families (most lone female parent families), as a
       proportion of all families than for the province as a whole. The number of children at
       home and persons for census families is similar to the BC average. Almost one-quarter
       of households have only one person and the average number of persons per household
       is 2.5. There are relatively few multi-family households. The CVRD has proportionately
       fewer non-family persons than for BC as a whole and fewer living alone. For those over
       age 65, more than one-quarter (over 8,000 people) of non-family persons in the CVRD
       are living alone.

6. Income Characteristics
   Median and average income for individuals in the Cowichan Valley is lower than for the
   province as a whole. In particular, Duncan and Lake Cowichan are much lower. At the same
   time, however, the incidence of low-income in the CVRD is lower than for the province as a
   whole. Female median income is considerably lower than for males – in some cases less
   than half. The major source of income in the CVRD is from employment, followed by income
   from pensions. Average and median family income in the Cowichan Valley is also lower than
   for the province as a whole, and this is true for couple families, male and female lone parent
   families. Almost 10,000 households in the CVRD had incomes of less than $30,000 in 2000
   – over one-third of all households and proportionately more than for the province as a
   whole. Dependency on the safety net in all age groups is higher in the CVRD than for BC as
   a whole.

7. The Housing Context
   Housing needs and demand can be viewed as a continuum - private homeownership, sub-
   market homeownership, private rental, non-profit rentals, non-profit supportive housing, and
      Dwelling Units
       Owner occupied housing predominates in the CVRD and the proportion is higher than
       for the province as a whole – 77% as compared to 66%. Duncan has the lowest
       proportion. The predominant housing type in the CVRD is single-detached (76% of all
       dwelling units), followed by apartments (12%). This compared to 55% and 33%
       respectively for BC as a whole. In 2005, the Duncan Census Area stood out in the
       province as a centre with significant increases in the number of new home starts. Over
       the last two years, the number of multiple housing starts has increased significantly.
       There is a distinct age-related pattern of housing occupancy for both tenure and
       structure type. The current picture of maintainer rates shows relatively high rental,
       ground-oriented maintainer rates in the student and young adult stages of the life-cycle

    and high rental apartment rates in the senior stage. This pattern reflects mobility sought
    by these age groups and the relatively low level of capital resources available to younger
    adults to enter the ownership side of the market. On the seniors‟ side, it is reflective of
    an older population moving towards alternatives to the traditional single-detached family
    home, either by choice or necessity (physically or financially).

   Affordability
    In 2001, Canada Census reported that the proportion of households spending more than
    30% of their gross income on rent was higher in the CVRD than for BC as a whole -
    suggesting that rental affordability is a serious issue in the region. On the other hand, the
    proportion of owner households spending more than 30% of their gross income on major
    payments was lower in the CVRD than for BC as a whole, suggesting that home
    ownership, while beyond the means of many, is not as significant a problem in the
    CVRD than in other parts of the province.
    As reported in the 2001 Canada Census, average owners payments and dwelling unit
    value were all lower in the CVRD than for BC as a whole. Median house prices,
    however, have risen considerably over the last years – from a low of $180,000 in 2001 to
    over $240,000 in 2005. Based on Canada Census information, half of all families in the
    CVRD cannot afford to buy a house worth more than $150,000, yet in the first few
    months of 2006, only 8 single-family houses were sold for under this price.
    As reported in the 2001 Canada Census, average gross rents paid were all lower in the
    CVRD than for BC as a whole and CMHC reports that rents generally remained lower in
    2004 and 2005. Within the region, the highest average gross rents were found in
    Ladysmith and the lowest in Duncan. Rents, however, have been increasing: between
    2004 and 2005, average rents for private apartment units in Duncan-North Cowichan
    rose by 3.3% and for private row (townhouse) units by 3.1%
    Vacancy rates have an impact on affordability – when supply is tight (and little or no new
    market rental housing has been constructed in the last twenty or more years), prices will
    generally rise. The vacancy rate in private rental buildings in Duncan-North Cowichan
    has declined in recent years: from 8.4% in October 2003 to 1.6% in October 2005 –
    indicating growing rental demand. For private apartment units in Duncan-North
    Cowichan, vacancy rates in 2005 were highest for bachelor apartment units, but very low
    for other kinds of units, for row townhouse units, the vacancy rate was 1.5%. The
    number of private apartment units available in October 2005 was 23 (all types) and for
    private townhouse units, 3 (all types).

   Government Housing Programs
    Over the last decade, the housing role of senior governments has changed markedly.
    They are no longer as actively involved in providing new housing and supportive
    programs as they once were and the focus has shifted and narrowed - directed away
    from affordable independent family and seniors housing to the funding of supportive and
    assisted living units for frail seniors and persons with disabilities. The result is that
    moderate and lower income households are facing a housing situation that is very
    different from even five years ago. Relying heavily on senior governments – the
    traditional approach for dealing with housing affordability issues – is not adequate. Table
    36 provides a summary of current government housing programs. It is expected that the
    provincial government will be announcing changes to their housing policy and programs
    later this year.

8. Projected Population1
    BC Statistics projects that the population of the CVRD will grow to 100,868 or by an average
    rate of 1.1% annually by 2031 (a 34% increase over 2001) – in 2031, the Regional District‟s
    population will be 1.3 times its size in 2001. During the same period, BC‟s population will
    grow by 42%.
    As life expectancies increase and the Baby Boom generation ages (in 2001 in the 35-54 age
    group, by 2031 in the 65-85 age group), by 2031, the CVRD will not only have a larger
    seniors population, but seniors will represent a much greater proportion of the total
    population. For every 100 people over the age of 65 in the Region in 2001, there will be 230
    in 2031. The second most significant change will be among the 40-64 age group which will
    increase by 1.4 times by 2031. At the same time, the proportion of regional population for all
    age groups under the age of 55 will decline or remain constant. The youngest age groups
    are expected to experience either minimal growth or absolute declines between 2001 and
    The distribution of the CVRD‟s population is also expected to change. In 2001, 19% of
    residents fell into the 0-14 age group and only 7% in the 75+ cohort. However, by 2031,
    there will be a smaller proportion of children (13%) and a larger proportion of seniors (12%).
    As a result, there will be “a decreasing supply of people in the workforce to support the
    inevitable increase in demand for health care and services required by the older age groups,
    as well as implications for housing occupancy demand.”

9. Projected Housing Demand
    The extent and character of housing demand in the Cowichan Valley Regional District over
    the next thirty years will be shaped by two main factors: growth and change in the region‟s
    population; and people‟s housing preferences and the extent to which they might change
    over the coming years.
    By 2031, there will be 14,303 more dwelling units (an average of 469 per year) to
    accommodate the 37.7% increase in CVRD population between 2001 and 2031. The growth
    in demand for housing is expected to exceed that of the population as a result of the aging
    of the Cowichan Valley Regional District‟s population. The seniors‟ population is expected to
    account for 63% of all additional demand for housing units between 2001 and 2031. By
    contrast, demand in all of the age groups under the age of 55 will grow by less than 50%.
    Owner-occupied dwelling units will remain the dominant tenure type in the District from
    2001 to 2031. Overall, the demand for owner-occupied housing will increase by 11,844
    dwelling units in the Cowichan Valley RD over the next thirty years (on average, by 368
    dwellings per year). Additional rental units are projected to reach their peak of 130 units per
    year slightly earlier than owned housing– between 2007 and 2010.
    The projected net increase of 14,303 dwelling units over the next thirty years will be
    comprised of an average increase in demand for: 351 single-detached, 63 attached ground-
    oriented and 57 apartments in the CVRD. This pattern of demand will be influenced by the
    large projected increases in the 65 to 75 age groups. Overall, there will be a 67% increase
    in demand for owner-occupied dwelling units and 47% increase in rental units by 2031. The
    most significant relative growth in demand will be for owner-occupied apartments. The
    second greatest increase in occupancy will be the increase for owner-occupied attached
    ground-oriented dwellings.

 Much of the information for the projections of population and housing demand is from: Population and
Housing Demand for the Cowichan Valley Regional District – 2001-2031, published by the Real Estate
Foundation and The Land Centre in September 2003.

  In addition to demographic forces, housing demand will be affected by factors such as
  government legislation, economic development, land use policy and existing zoning. Supply
  and location will be guided by the potential for services, amenities, and employment

10. Target Groups
     Seniors
      The seniors' population is not homogeneous. Four broad groups of seniors can be
      identified: about 85% of seniors fall into the independent and semi-independent
      categories, 15% are in the frail elderly category. In general, different age groups require
      different kinds of housing. Many seniors have limited incomes, affecting their ability to
      access/ maintain housing, although there a limited number of existing projects within the
      CVRD serving low-income seniors (Table 45).
      CMHC‟s annual rental market survey reports that congregate housing continues to
      expand on Vancouver Island - Duncan/Cowichan saw large increases due to the re-
      designation of some personal care beds as congregate units with supportive housing or
      assisted living. A number of new projects are under construction or in the planning
      stage. The overall congregate vacancy rate for a 1-bedroom unit in Duncan/ Cowichan in
      2004 was zero, with an average wait period of 12 months. In 2004 in Duncan/ Cowichan,
      the average rent for a 1-bedroom was $1,370 and for a 2-bedroom was $1,800 – lower
      than in both Victoria and Nanaimo - strong rent increases reflect rising operating costs
      as well as buoyant demand for congregate housing.
      As noted previously, future housing demand in the CVRD will be dominated by the
      population over age 65. It is expected that demand will grow for smaller, low
      maintenance, more easily accessible accommodation that allow for aging in place,
      including apartments or townhouses in neighbourhoods that are convenient to services,
      are safe, affordable, and provide a mix of housing choices and opportunities for social
      activity (essential to the maintenance of health and independent living). As the
      population ages there will also be a need for more acute and extended care, supportive
      residential and mental health services.

     Women And Children
      Women‟s housing needs are related to their disproportional experience of poverty,
      systemic discrimination, inequality based on gender or other factors, and violence
      against women. Life-cycle transitions are an important consideration as well, e.g.
      singleness, marriage and separation; raising children, empty nesting, aging, and illness.
      Low-income affects many women. Key housing needs include: safety; price; stability;
      accessibility to facilities, transportation, and support services; sense of community;
      control over living environment; aesthetics, pet ownership; privacy, involvement, room
      for other family members, aesthetics, and outdoor space.
      There are only limited services available in the Cowichan Valley, particularly for some
      groups of women and primarily provided by non-profit societies. These range from, a
      low-income town house project (27 units); to several projects (primarily for First Nations‟
      families) scattered throughout the region; to a transition house (10 beds); and an
      Independent Living Program for high-risk youth.
      Based on interviews with key service providers, identified housing needs include: low-
      income housing for women of all ages; transitional and second-stage housing for women
      leaving Transition House or treatment; safe homes (there are none); housing for young
      women (with or without babies); and housing for mid-aged women. Although little

    planning has been undertaken, the preference is to develop 8-10 units of second-stage
    housing for mid-aged women with children. A description of second-stage housing is
    provided in Attachment 5.

   Mental Health
    In Canada, 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.
    Appropriate and affordable housing is considered by mental health practitioners to be a
    significant determinant in promoting personal well-being. Individuals with mental health
    issues often start in residential housing and move through increasingly independent
    housing options to reach supported housing. It is now recognized that making these
    many changes is extremely disruptive to people‟s lives.
    There are a number of resources in the Cowichan Valley providing a variety of mental
    health services, e.g. Canadian Mental Health Association – Cowichan Valley Branch,
    Ts'ewulhtun Health Centre (Cowichan Tribes), and VIHA. VIHA‟s Residential & Housing
    Services provides a range of safe, secure housing options supplemented with support
    services, including Wicks Road (10 beds) and Wisteria House (9 beds). Otherwise the
    existing housing stock consists of 8 units in the Dogwood apartments for seniors, 51
    units of Supported Independent Living (SIL) scattered subsidized rental units, 9 family
    care homes (serving 12 clients), and 2 hospital beds.
    Amongst service providers, the generally shared view is that the “housing situation is
    abysmal”. Development preferences include: a housing continuum for persons with
    addictions; emergency/crisis shelter; low-income housing; supported housing; respite;
    family care homes; and housing for seniors in the early stages of dementia/ cognitive
    impairment (e.g. about 12 units to start (2 pods of 6).

   Developmental Challenges and Disabilities
    The Cowichan Valley has the largest per capita number of people with disabilities in the
    province (18-19% of the CVRD population compared to 14-16% of the BC population).
    Many (perhaps 60%) are persons with mental health issues. There are a number of
    agencies providing support services, including: the Disability Resource Centre and the
    Cowichan Valley Association for Community Living.
    Some people with developmental disabilities live on their own or with their families,
    others live in a wide range of community residential settings where they receive their
    services and supports, such as: group homes, supported independent living, family
    model care homes, and other care facilities. Increasingly, government has moved to
    funding congregate care, increasing the number of residents per bedroom and per
    home, and growing support for for-profit and private models of care. Increasingly families
    and people with developmental disabilities are looking to home ownership as a way to
    secure a home for the future. The BC Association for Community Living has developed a
    „Have a Home Policy‟ on housing for persons with developmental disabilities.
    Housing for persons with disabilities generally focuses on the need for adaptability
    (flexible design features that can be adapted to meet the changing needs of any
    occupant) and accessibility (fixed design features, usually designed for persons with a
    specific disability, such as those who use wheelchairs, adding convenience and
    practicality to the functions of a home. In BC, density bonusing is the most commonly
    used tool to encourage the development of these types of housing.
    With respect to housing, as expressed in the interviews, “there are lot of challenges”,
    “housing is definitely needed” “the issue of affordable housing has not really been
    addressed for people with disabilities in the Valley”. There are very few housing choices:

    private apartments, group homes (usually not accessible) and the few existing
    „affordable‟ housing projects (generally do not serve singles or couples with disabilities).
    Housing needs include: access to transportation; site and building accessibility;
    integration with the surrounding community; access to support programs.

   Cohousing
    A number of individuals associated with Providence Farm and the Village at Providence
    Farm have indicated an interest in living at the Farm and/or in the Village. In particular, a
    number have indicated an interest in exploring a cohousing project for the Village.
    Cohousing combines the autonomy of private dwellings with the advantages of shared
    resources and community living. An outline of the typical features that define cohousing
    is provided in the Study: participatory process; non-hierarchical structure and decision-
    making; forming a community; neighborhood design (timelines, common facilities, and
    private housing); resident management; ownership/ legal Status; cost; and residents.
    Examples of a number of local cohousing examples are provided.

   Hospice
    The Cowichan Valley Hospice Society (CVHS) is a community-based service to offer
    support and companionship to the terminally ill and grieving family members. While
    CBHS has not undertaken a needs assessment, their long-term “dream‟ is long-term
    residential care – the gap is not for people in the hospital or at home, but for some other
    care location. They also indicate that respite resources (both for the dying person and/or
    the family) and improved home support are priorities. Before CVHS can undertake a
    project it would need to identify and obtain capital and operating funds; they also need to
    maintain some “flexibility” and “keep options open.
    While not scoped out in any detail, during an interview with CVHS staff and volunteers, it
    was suggested that the development of a bereavement centre and/or hospice at
    Providence Village would be of interest. A number of „design‟ considerations were
    provided, and a number of examples in other communities (Kamloops, Prince George,
    and Vernon) were suggested for further exploration.

   The Homeless
    There are many challenges when addressing homelessness. There is no single cause
    and therefore no single solution. There are groups of people who, because of their
    socioeconomic marginalization are more likely to be poor, unemployed or working for
    low wages, and therefore more at-risk of becoming homeless. In recent community
    discussions, homelessness has been attributed to the loss of employment opportunities
    in the local resource-based industries, to a decline in social and health care service
    provision, including mental health services, and to the lowest rents in the community
    being well above the maximum shelter allowance provided for single people by the
    Ministry for Employment and Income Assistance.
    MLA Doug Routley, and staff of MP Jean Crowder‟s local office, working with Social
    Planning Cowichan, have been actively working to address homelessness in the
    Cowichan Valley. In a homeless count conducted last year in the Duncan area, 76
    people were identified. This is considered to be an undercount, low and conservative,
    with First Nations homeless probably not fully counted. There are over 200 individuals
    receiving income assistance without rent support who are mainly „couch surfing‟ or
    sharing houses (in one case 12-14 people in one house with one bathroom).
    An offer from BC Housing to purchase an existing building for an emergency shelter has
    recently been accepted and current activities involve developing the business case and

       facilities plan. While the number of beds and services have yet to be identified, it is
       anticipated that the top floor of the 3-storey building will be used for transitional housing
       (perhaps 3-4 small apartments). Social Planning Cowichan has recently received a grant
       to conduct a study on housing needs and a coordinator has been hired to undertake the
       work. Social Planning Cowichan is responsible for getting the shelter to the open door
       stage. Once opened, it is anticipated that operational funding will be provided by VIHA
       and others, and that CMHA will be responsible for the management of the shelter. No
       target date for the opening has yet been established.
       Associated with the basic need for a safe, secure place to live, homeless individuals and
       families may also require short-term or ongoing support services to gain a greater level
       of self-esteem and well-being. Many of these programs and services play a key role in
       preventing homelessness. Some are focused on developing life skills, while others are
       focused on employment and job training.

10. Conclusions and Recommendations
  Based on the information compiled and assessed, and as presented in foregoing sections, a
  number of conclusions and recommendations have been identified.
  In the coming decades, the aging of the population and the size of the seniors‟ population
  will have an impact on housing demand, particularly with respect to a significantly greater
  demand for seniors‟ housing. Given the extent of low-income, low rental vacancy rates, and
  relatively little lower cost single-detached housing, there is clearly a need to provide
  opportunities for improved housing affordability in the region. Population increase and the
  aging of the population will create a continuing demand for new housing units (both owner-
  occupied and rental) in the next decades. While single-detached dwellings will continue to
  predominate, there is a growing market for attached ground-oriented and apartment units.
  The role of local government in terms of land use policy and zoning will be important in
  determining the scope of the Village at Providence Farm. Many of the tools used for such
  developments (e.g. density bonusing and comprehensive development zoning need to be
  scoped out and this will take time. Relying heavily on senior governments – the traditional
  approach for providing low-income housing is no longer possible. Instead, other approaches
  are needed, including actively pursing partnerships with key community agencies.
  Opportunities exist for special needs and seniors housing, working in partnership with VIHA
  and community agencies.
  As existing housing resources in the CVRD are very limited, there is a need for housing for
  all of the primary target groups, as well as other groups and sub-groups within the target
  groups. While the Village at Providence Farm is seen as a desirable and compatible location
  for target group housing, very little, or no, real project planning is underway – amongst the
  target groups it is more a case of „wish lists‟ than active project development. Local capacity
  (skills, experience, and financial) to undertake concrete planning is largely lacking, except
  perhaps within VIHA. On the other hand, the in most cases the number of units envisioned
  by each group is relatively small and this may make their development more practicable.
  However, it is going to take time, perhaps considerable time to be in a position to „break
       Identify seniors and special needs (mental health, persons with developmental
        challenges and disabilities) as the key target groups for the first phase of the Village
        and work with VIHA and community agencies in further identifying project possibilities.

      Identify key individuals interested in cohousing and form a task group to begin the
       process of developing a cohousing project at the Village (through concept to
      Identify individuals, starting with those already associated with Providence Farm, who
       would be interested in living at or near the Farm, including in the proposed Village.
      Work with women‟s organizations and Hospice to explore further the feasibility of
       potential projects.
      Consider the inclusion of market single-detached housing at the Village and identify
       how it would fit in.
      Scope out the phasing of potential development.
      Determine the land use options and zoning restrictions/ possibilities with the District of
       North Cowichan.

11. Appendices
  The report includes the following attachments: Interview List; Background Economic
  Information; The Social Context – Ethnicity, Health, and Safety; Excerpts from: Population
  and Housing Demand for the Cowichan Valley Regional District – 2001-2031, The Real
  Estate Foundation and The Land Centre, September 2003 (pages 9-15); Definitions; and


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