An effort is underway to try to find a missing piece to the puzzle of P.E.I.’s housing crisis.
This week saw three meetings held in eastern P.E.I. as part of a study looking at housing in the area.
While the housing crisis in P.E.I. has been well-documented, much of the available information is from around Charlottetown with little to no data on some of the province’s more rural areas.
Pat Campbell, president of the Rotary Club of Montague, said the lack of information has made discussing the issue and identifying priority areas for targeted investments difficult.
“Our great concern when we started looking at this issue is that there’s not enough sufficient data to say what are the barriers and challenges,” said Campbell, with the club contracting MRSB to conduct the study. “This will allow us to have the information and the awareness to allow us to continue advocating for housing in eastern areas.
“When we have the data it’s another way of making our case that it’s a fundamental need for everyone, to have a home.”
The evening saw about half a dozen residents discuss housing challenges that are affecting them.
The majority expressed disappointment at the lack of progress on a 20-unit affordable apartment complex proposed for the town last year. It was also noted that building any affordable housing in the area would likely require two levels of government support.
Some seniors said they were contemplating moving out of the community to find affordable housing.
It’s a concern Zachary Robson of MRSB said he hears all the time – and not just in eastern P.E.I.
“Our great concern when we started looking at this issue is that there’s not enough sufficient data to say what are the barriers and challenges. This will allow us to have the information and the awareness to allow us to continue advocating for housing in eastern areas."
- Pat Campbell, President, Rotary Club of Montague
“People do want to stay in the communities they were born and raised in. And you can’t blame them,” said Robson.
Robson said the town halls are a small part of the data gathering, which has also seen more than 500 responses to a survey available online and in paper form.
He noted the responses have come from all different demographics of age, gender and income levels.
“It’s really nice to see that represented in the population, and in the way we asked people to identify things about themselves such as age and income level, we can further break down the data,” said Robson, adding the number of results has already passed the 280 threshold to be statistically significant.
Results so far have shown a variety of challenges, including wages not keeping up with housing costs, short-term rentals, challenges saving up for down payments and population growth exceeding development.
“It’s creating a perfect storm,” said Robson.
With the survey results expected in September, Campbell said they will be shared with all municipalities and services clubs and made available to the public as a means of increasing awareness around the issue.
“Knowing the data will hopefully promote some really creative conversations and maybe something positive will come out of this when people see the data more clearly and say ‘wow, there is a great need in this area’,” said Campbell.
Town halls were also held in Montague on Tuesday and Wood Islands on Thursday.
The online survey is available at Peihousingsurvey.ca and will be open until at least July 3.