The Workforce Housing Survey closed on July 3, 2022, and the Economic Development Cowichan team has been busy sifting through the responses. Back in May, we explained how the Survey is the first step in the development of a Workforce Housing Strategy for the region. The feedback gathered from both employers and employees provides an overview of the existing housing impacts, needs and preferences. This information will be used as a baseline for the development of the regional Workforce Housing Strategy. Thank you to those who participated, the responses are valuable for the team in understanding the relationship between housing and the labour force.
“We’d been hearing throughout the year that the cost of housing was really impacting businesses in the region,” says Brittany Taylor, Acting Manager of Economic Development Cowichan, “now we have concrete data that shows how housing availability and affordability is exacerbating the already critical labour shortage.”
What we heard
Survey respondents, both employers and employees, noted that housing affordability and availability had significantly impacted the workforce. The employee responses indicated a strong preference for home ownership as opposed to renting, and to locating in a more rural or suburban lifestyle, as opposed to more urban living. Both employers and employees had mixed interest in a range of potential solutions, from employer led action to government intervention. All responses indicated support for the creation of an organization to build and manage affordable housing. In terms of government interventions, the support was varied on a variety of potential initiatives that local government could take.
Economic Development Cowichan will be releasing a request for proposals from qualified consultants to work with staff and other key stakeholders in the development of a regional Workforce Housing Strategy. The strategy will be developed over several phases with significant public engagement, and under the guidance of a Project Advisory Committee. To ensure viable solutions for Cowichan, the Strategy will be aligned with the plans, policies and regulations that influence development in the region.
Public engagement and feedback throughout the process will be critical, so stay involved by subscribing to the Economic Development Cowichan newsletter, or visiting the project web-page on PlanYourCowichan.com/Workforce-Housing to find the most up to date information.