Workforce Housing Strategy

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The Project

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is developing a Workforce Housing Strategy for Cowichan, to come up with actions for increasing housing availability and affordability for the labour force. Economic Development Cowichan (EDC) is leading this project on behalf of the CVRD.

Our research shows that Cowichan does not have enough housing for everyone, and more people are moving here every year. This shortage has caused house prices to rise significantly. We’ve also heard from businesses of all sizes and sectors in Cowichan that the housing crisis is impacting employers’ ability to attract and retain staff. The Workforce Housing Strategy will identify actions that we can take to address this issue.


February 2024: Draft Cowichan Workforce Housing Strategy

The project group has completed a draft Cowichan Workforce Housing Strategy, and we are now seeking feedback from stakeholders on the proposed recommendations. In February and March 2024, we are hosting a series of invite-only workshops to review the draft Cowichan Workforce Housing Strategy and solicit feedback. A survey is also available below for any stakeholder who wishes to provide feedback on the draft Strategy.

Step 1: REVIEW THE DRAFT STRATEGY

Step 2: COMPLETE THE SURVEY

Deadline: Monday, March 4, 2024


May 2023: Workforce Housing Solutions Workshops

In May 2023, we hosted a series of invite-only workshops to discuss key focus areas of the Workforce Housing Strategy project: short-term rental regulations, a potential Cowichan housing authority, and accelerated workforce housing solutions. These focus areas were chosen after extensive engagement with a variety of stakeholders, including the Workforce Housing Issues & Opportunities Workshops detailed in the next section below.

Workshop participants discussed the benefits and challenges of each potential solution, and how each might be used to alleviate workforce housing issues in the region. A summary of what we heard from participants, as well as the slides presented at each workshop, are available here.


Jan/Feb 2023: Workforce Housing Issues & Opportunities Workshops

In January and February 2023, we hosted a series of workshops to discuss current workforce housing issues and needs, where we want to be in the future, and how we want to get there. These discussions will help the project team develop a vision and framework for the next step in the process, where we’ll talk solutions!

There were 6 workshops, each for a different target group.

📅 Regional Planners – Monday, January 30, 10am-12pm
For First Nations, municipal and regional government staff

📅 Employers – Monday, January 30, 2-4pm
For businesses and non-profits of all shapes and sizes

📅 Service Providers – Tuesday, January 31, 10am-12pm – CANCELLED
For organizations who support workers, including non-profit housing providers, youth services, and training organizations

📅 Builders & Developers – Wednesday, February 1, 1-3pm
For residential developers, property managers, realtors, and members of the construction industry

📅 Employees & Workers with Lived Experience – Tuesday, February 7, 5:30-7:30pm
For employees and workers who have experienced challenges finding and affording housing

📅 The Public – Wednesday, February 8, 5:30-7:30pm
For everyone else who would like to contribute to this important work!

The slides from the workshops are available to download here. A summary of what we heard is available here.


Summer 2022: Workforce Housing Surveys

To develop an action plan of housing solutions for workers, we asked for input on key issues facing businesses and employees in the Cowichan Valley. In summer 2022, we conducted two surveys, one for people who work or would like to work in Cowichan, and one for the businesses and agencies they work for. The feedback gathered from both employers and employees provides an overview of the existing housing impacts, needs and preferences. The data will be used as a baseline in the development of the Workforce Housing Strategy. To learn more about the results, read through the 2-page summary of the Workforce Housing Survey Results.


More Details

What is workforce housing anyway? We’ve tentatively defined workforce housing as housing that’s affordable for households earning between $47,000 and $95,000 per year. It doesn’t include social housing, which is generally subsidized. Public engagement throughout the project will help us further refine our definition so it makes sense for Cowichan.

Who else is involved? Economic Development Cowichan is part of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and works on behalf of the whole region. Cowichan Housing Association is our partner on this project. CitySpaces Consulting has been hired to assist. We’ve also formed a Project Advisory Group made up of representatives from a wide variety of sectors and groups.

How can I stay informed? To keep up to date on the overall project, subscribe to Economic Development Cowichan’s newsletter by clicking here.

The Project

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is developing a Workforce Housing Strategy for Cowichan, to come up with actions for increasing housing availability and affordability for the labour force. Economic Development Cowichan (EDC) is leading this project on behalf of the CVRD.

Our research shows that Cowichan does not have enough housing for everyone, and more people are moving here every year. This shortage has caused house prices to rise significantly. We’ve also heard from businesses of all sizes and sectors in Cowichan that the housing crisis is impacting employers’ ability to attract and retain staff. The Workforce Housing Strategy will identify actions that we can take to address this issue.


February 2024: Draft Cowichan Workforce Housing Strategy

The project group has completed a draft Cowichan Workforce Housing Strategy, and we are now seeking feedback from stakeholders on the proposed recommendations. In February and March 2024, we are hosting a series of invite-only workshops to review the draft Cowichan Workforce Housing Strategy and solicit feedback. A survey is also available below for any stakeholder who wishes to provide feedback on the draft Strategy.

Step 1: REVIEW THE DRAFT STRATEGY

Step 2: COMPLETE THE SURVEY

Deadline: Monday, March 4, 2024


May 2023: Workforce Housing Solutions Workshops

In May 2023, we hosted a series of invite-only workshops to discuss key focus areas of the Workforce Housing Strategy project: short-term rental regulations, a potential Cowichan housing authority, and accelerated workforce housing solutions. These focus areas were chosen after extensive engagement with a variety of stakeholders, including the Workforce Housing Issues & Opportunities Workshops detailed in the next section below.

Workshop participants discussed the benefits and challenges of each potential solution, and how each might be used to alleviate workforce housing issues in the region. A summary of what we heard from participants, as well as the slides presented at each workshop, are available here.


Jan/Feb 2023: Workforce Housing Issues & Opportunities Workshops

In January and February 2023, we hosted a series of workshops to discuss current workforce housing issues and needs, where we want to be in the future, and how we want to get there. These discussions will help the project team develop a vision and framework for the next step in the process, where we’ll talk solutions!

There were 6 workshops, each for a different target group.

📅 Regional Planners – Monday, January 30, 10am-12pm
For First Nations, municipal and regional government staff

📅 Employers – Monday, January 30, 2-4pm
For businesses and non-profits of all shapes and sizes

📅 Service Providers – Tuesday, January 31, 10am-12pm – CANCELLED
For organizations who support workers, including non-profit housing providers, youth services, and training organizations

📅 Builders & Developers – Wednesday, February 1, 1-3pm
For residential developers, property managers, realtors, and members of the construction industry

📅 Employees & Workers with Lived Experience – Tuesday, February 7, 5:30-7:30pm
For employees and workers who have experienced challenges finding and affording housing

📅 The Public – Wednesday, February 8, 5:30-7:30pm
For everyone else who would like to contribute to this important work!

The slides from the workshops are available to download here. A summary of what we heard is available here.


Summer 2022: Workforce Housing Surveys

To develop an action plan of housing solutions for workers, we asked for input on key issues facing businesses and employees in the Cowichan Valley. In summer 2022, we conducted two surveys, one for people who work or would like to work in Cowichan, and one for the businesses and agencies they work for. The feedback gathered from both employers and employees provides an overview of the existing housing impacts, needs and preferences. The data will be used as a baseline in the development of the Workforce Housing Strategy. To learn more about the results, read through the 2-page summary of the Workforce Housing Survey Results.


More Details

What is workforce housing anyway? We’ve tentatively defined workforce housing as housing that’s affordable for households earning between $47,000 and $95,000 per year. It doesn’t include social housing, which is generally subsidized. Public engagement throughout the project will help us further refine our definition so it makes sense for Cowichan.

Who else is involved? Economic Development Cowichan is part of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and works on behalf of the whole region. Cowichan Housing Association is our partner on this project. CitySpaces Consulting has been hired to assist. We’ve also formed a Project Advisory Group made up of representatives from a wide variety of sectors and groups.

How can I stay informed? To keep up to date on the overall project, subscribe to Economic Development Cowichan’s newsletter by clicking here.

  • The Cowichan Valley Regional District, Project Advisory Group, and CitySpaces Consulting invite you to complete a survey about the draft Cowichan Workforce Housing Strategy.


    Please visit this link to see the draft Cowichan Workforce Housing Strategy and reference the document when answering questions as needed.


    This survey closes on Monday, March 4, 2024 at approximately 4pm PST.

    Take Survey
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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Choose this survey if you are an employer operating within the Cowichan Valley, or employing workers who live within the Cowichan Valley. Please respond from the perspective of your business or organization.

    To develop an action plan of housing solutions for workers, we need your input on key issues facing businesses in the Cowichan Valley. The following questions will help us understand the impact that housing has had on you as an employer. The responses will be used to develop a picture of workforce housing needs in the Cowichan Valley and help us determine important solutions to explore as part of the Workforce Housing Strategy background research. Your participation is voluntary, confidential and should only take 8-10 minutes.

    Take Survey
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    Choose this survey if you work within the Cowichan Valley or would like to work within the Cowichan Valley, even if you don't currently live in Cowichan.

    To develop an action plan of housing solutions for workers, we need your input on key issues facing workers in the Cowichan Valley. The information you provide will help us understand the impact that housing has had on you as an employee. The responses will be used to develop a picture of workforce housing needs in the Cowichan Valley and help us determine important solutions to explore as part of the Workforce Housing Strategy background research. Your participation is voluntary, confidential and should only take 10-12 minutes.

    Take Survey
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
Page last updated: 12 Feb 2024, 11:41 AM