The Sunshine Coast has a new housing team that will build on the efforts of local housing providers, community organizations, local government and private sector developers to provide safe, affordable and appropriate housing that meets the diverse and changing needs of the southern Sunshine Coast.
Through funding from the District of Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast Regional District, the Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society, working on behalf of the Housing Action Table, has retained a regional housing coordinator (Kelly Foley) and an emergency housing coordinator (Silas White). The society has secured additional funding to hire a rental incentives coordinator. That position will be posted in the weeks ahead.
“A shortage of affordable housing is a challenge for every community in B.C. and it will truly take a group effort across all sectors to solve,” said Darnelda Siegers, Mayor of District of Sechelt. “We’re pleased to provide this grant money to the Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society and look forward to working together to find solutions.
“By having a regional housing coordinator, we can build on the action already under way and a take a more strategic and aligned approach to addressing this complex issue.”
As the new regional housing coordinator, Foley will work with local organizations and government to implement a Housing Action Plan that will build capacity in the community housing sector, foster partnerships between government and housing providers, advocate to all levels of government for funding and policies that promote the development of community housing across the spectrum (workforce housing, affordable housing, supportive housing, emergency housing), and nurture the development of an educated and engaged community that helps to inform the process.
“Local government and community organizations are working hard to address the housing crisis, but it is not easy. There are many contributors and there is no magic bullet,” said Foley. “It will take an integrated and strategic approach to be effective. My role is to harness the resources, knowledge, and expertise of local organizations and community members to create collective impact…and to promote immediate action."
The work will be informed by the Sunshine Coast Housing Needs Report – Implementation Framework that was published in 2020 and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Report published in 2021.
As the emergency housing coordinator, White will continue to chair the Sunshine Coast Homelessness Action Coalition (SCHAC) and will work to foster collaboration between different agencies to implement a coordinated work plan that supports the homeless population through capacity building, outreach supports, emergency housing, and prevention programs.
“Long-time residents, especially seniors and workers, are increasingly losing their homes. We will identify opportunities and advocate for immediate action from all levels of government for more inclusive zoning and permitting and more subsidized housing for those in need,” said White.
This initiative is an outcome of the Sunshine Coast Emergency Action Table. Retaining a regional housing coordinator was identified as a main priority of the table.
Learn more about this initiative at www.coverthecoast.org.
–Submitted by Cover the Coast Alliance for Affordable Housing