Creston’s Chief Administrative Officer Mike Moore opened the discussion on affordable housing during the Committee of the Whole meeting on May 14.

Moore referenced the Province’s Homes for BC Report, $6 billion will be invested in affordable housing over the next 10 years and grant funding may entice developers to build accommodation of the like. The informal discussion raised by Moore was simply to get talks started and to get the Town thinking on ways to address the gap in housing needed for low-income families, the elderly and individuals at risk of self harm.

Having also invited the Chair of the Creston Valley Community Housing Society, Rita Scott warned that Council may come under fire for directly supporting low-income projects using grants and provincial tax payers’ funds.

“What we can do is either find a way to give them a hand up, or we can pay the extra costs of looking after their addictions and their mental health and all their social needs that are going to cost us a hell of a lot more than it would to simply get our backs into finding a way to get some decent, affordable rental housing.”

Scott then shared her own experience.

“I got my start in life in social housing. I was a single mother with little kids when I was poor and young. My efforts at that time were to find the wherewithal to have a job that would pay enough to pay childcare, transportation rent and groceries. It could not be done.”

Based on a previous study, the Town estimates that roughly 100 affordable units are needed to address locals on the verge or live in poverty. Aside from good samaritan landlords that offer affordable rent, there is the 24 unit Crestbrook Gardens housing complex and the Creston Valley Community Housing Society. Both of which have a waiting list.

“We have six units of family housing,” Said Scott, “And I can tell you that virtually every one of those units has a success story to it.”

The general consensus after the meeting was that Council and staff will conduct a housing needs assessment. The Town will also host a meeting with developers to provide the resources necessary to move forward with targeted affordable housing projects.