An analysis of housing needs in Black Diamond has been released following a nearly year-long process.
The 2022 Black Diamond Affordable Housing Needs Assessment Report to the Community examines the need for affordable housing over the next five to 10 years and was released earlier this month.
“This study has allowed us to recognize priority groups in our community who need more support,” said Lauren Ingalls, chief administrative officer of Westwinds Communities.
Black Diamond’s assessment shows that affordable housing needs are growing for low- and moderate-income households.
The information collected shows that 63 per cent of Black Diamond renters struggle to afford housing, and costs for shelter rose 60 per cent for renters between 2006 to 2016.
“The study will help encourage both the private and public sector to develop much needed affordable housing options in our local communities,” said Ted Mills, Westwinds Communities board chair.
The report suggests a need for one-bedroom or studio-sized rentals.
Just one per cent of rental units are one-bedroom or smaller, but 26 per cent of households have one person, and the number of those households is increasing.
It concludes that by 2031, Black Diamond will need 269 more small units and 56 other rental units. Also, an additional 56 non-market housing units will be needed.
Non-market housing is any housing that is not connected to market rental rates and can offer long-term affordable rent. Housing co-ops or non-profit housing corportions are examples of this type of housing structure.
Priority groups identified by the report are one-parent households, single seniors and low-income households.
Information for the report was gathered through interviews, workshops and surveys. Beginning in August 2021, the process wrapped up with the release of the final report in July 2022.
The final report for Black Diamond is available to view at town.blackdiamond.ab.ca.
The Housing Needs Assessments was developed by the consulting firm Resilience Planning, hired by Westwinds Communities. The firm worked with the Town of the High River, Town of Black Diamond and Habitat for Humanity’s Foothills Chapter.
Westwinds Communities is a nonprofit, provincially-legislated housing management body that partners with individuals, municipalities and the Government of Alberta to provide safe, affordable housing opportunities and services.