The Kitimat Housing Action Plan was released Friday, by the Northern Development Initiative. The 88 page plan can be found on the District of Kitimat Website by clicking this sentence.
The key findings of the plan explains that Kitimat is a small community which is affected quickly by changes in housing demand. These changes are associated with the decisions of major industries. Recently, there is a spike in the demand for rental housing leading to lower vacancy rates and higher rent.
“Although it is difficult to quantify, a number of people with low incomes (social assistance, disability pensions, and Old Age Security) are unable to afford higher rents for suitable housing,” Reads the plan. “A spike in the demand for ownership housing, leading to higher list and sale prices, and fewer days on the market before being sold. For those owners who are mortgage free or have considerable equity in their homes, this is viewed positively; however, for Kitimat residents wanting to purchase a first home, the increases are seen as a barrier”
The plan states, in their analysis, Kitimat needs housing for seniors, women and children and residents with special needs following a destabilization of the market. Kitimat needs an extreme weather shelter, second stage housing for women and children who are dealing with issues such as violence and homelessness.
The report explains the woman’s shelter usage increased by 20% in two years. One of the areas where further information is needed is in the area of housing for people with special needs.
The plan comes with alongside 18 recommendations which include things like accessibility and standards of maintenance. It will be presented to Council at their Regular Meeting this coming Monday.