CVRD considering new tax to help deal with affordable housing crisis. (File photo)

CVRD considering new tax to help deal with affordable housing crisis. (File photo)

CVRD proposes new tax to assist with affordable housing

District to seek public support for plans

The Cowichan Valley Regional District is proposing a new tax to assist with costs related to social housing.

The tax, which would be assessed through an annual property value tax of $4.58 per $100,000 of assessed value, would raise approximately $765,000 per year.

The money would be managed by the Cowichan Housing Association to leverage and attract funding from the federal and provincial governments to build affordable housing.

The CVRD is also considering the creation of a regional service to provide annual funding to the CHA to assist with costs for programs and services related to affordable housing and homelessness prevention in the Cowichan region.

The CVRD will seek broad community input on these initiatives in the coming weeks.

“Accessing affordable housing is important for so many reasons. A lack of housing has implications for the health, social and economic well-being of our communities,” said CVRD chairman Jon Lefebure.

“To successfully secure affordable housing funding, local government involvement, support and financial investment is critically important.”

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The extra funding would allow the CHA to negotiate with local governments, senior levels of government, developers, and community groups to build more affordable housing in the region, coordinate with the social services sector to prevent homelessness, identify affordable housing issue areas and opportunities to address them and collect data and keep the CVRD and the community informed.

“In our region, rising housing costs are far exceeding increases in people’s incomes,’ said CHA chairman Chris Hall.

“This means that many working people are having trouble finding housing that they can afford. This affects professionals new to the area, as well as low-wage workers, young families trying to enter the housing market, seniors on fixed incomes, and many others.”

Further information regarding community consultation on this matter will be provided through a number of platforms including open houses, social media, newspaper advertising and PlaceSpeak.