Data FAQ and Research Sources


What are the Housing Needs Reports (HNRs)? 

The HNRs presented in this tool are the product of a provincial mandate established on April 16, 2019, that required municipalities (or groups of municipalities) “to collect data, analyze trends and present reports that describe current and anticipated housing needs.” The legislation established that the first series of reports needed be completed by April 2022 and every five years thereafter.

HNRs inform local governments about existing and projected gaps in housing supply, helping them develop evidence-based housing strategies or action plans. With the analysis of the 50 distinct required data points, the reports should contain:  

  1. Statements about key areas of local need, including affordable housing, rental housing, special needs housing, seniors housing, family housing, and shelters and housing for people at risk of homelessness. 
  1. The number of housing units required to meet current and anticipated housing needs for at least the next five years, by housing type. Housing ‘type’ is defined as dwelling size (number of bedrooms). 
  1. The number and percentage of households in core housing need and extreme core housing need. 

To learn more about the HNRs, visit: 


What constitutes one of the Make Housing Central highlights? 

Highlights are short pieces of information collected from the HNRs that have the following characteristics:  

  1. Include factual data derived from:  

Official sources:  

  • BC Assessment: data on assessed values and sales prices of housing 
  • BC Housing data: on non-market housing and new homes registered 
  • BC Stats: data on projected population and household demographics from 2018 to 2028 
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC): data on primary rental market prices, primary rental vacancy rates and some secondary rental market data 
  • Statistics Canada Census: data on population and household demographics, labour force, household income, housing units and core housing need  

Survey or public engagement responses when no other data is available. These would have been conducted by local governments or the consultant responsible for producing the HNRs on behalf of the local government. 

  1. Don’t include opinions or qualifications.  
  1. Are relevant to the community housing sector, meaning they contain information that references non-profit housing or co-operative housing.  

To ensure standardization in the data collection for this tool, key priority areas were defined based on the main topics of interest of the partner organizations behind this campaign. The number of potential highlights in each of these categories is set to allow the data to capture a variety of aspects covered in the reports, as well as adding some flexibility for those reports with limited information. The following priority areas were identified: 

  • Community Housing Sector: Includes information about number of individuals on waitlists for non-profit housing, changes in the local non-profit housing or co-op housing, and any other relevant finding relating the community housing sector such as a key demographic, deficiency, or need.  
  • Projected Core Housing Need: This is one of the required pieces of data that municipalities were required to report on, and it is based on population projections and current core housing need data from the 2016 census. 
  • Projected Areas of Need: All reports should have included statements of need, mostly related to the disproportionate impact of the housing crisis on vulnerable groups, and usually reflecting each community’s priorities. Here, data collected focused on gaps in the provision of non-market or rental housing. 
  • Rental Market: Includes information on how renters compare to owners in terms of need, the impact of rent increases, change in rental stock, and/or vacancy rates. 
  • Homelessness: Includes information on shelter availability or any other analysis on homelessness. For the most recent homeless count numbers for the communities which were funded to conduct homeless counts in 2020/2021, see:  


Why do so many of these highlights include older data? 

One of the most important data limitations in the production of the HNRs was the availability of recent census data as all reports were due to be completed before the release of the 2021 census dataset in 2022.  As a result, any reporting of core housing need or projections based on census data in grounded in 2016 data. 

Given that municipalities were allowed to complete the HNRs at any point between 2019 and 2022, the data from official sources (such as the number of households on BC Housing’s waitlists) is reflective of each report’s completion date and methods. 


Why are there so few highlights for Indigenous Housing Need? 

The partners behind this campaign are committed to advancing housing solutions for Indigenous peoples in every community in BC, with a focus first and foremost on for Indigenous, by Indigenous approaches. As such, a key focus of the research behind this campaign was illuminating local government approaches to identifying and quantifying Indigenous housing needs. This builds on the report Urban Indigenous Housing in BC: Municipal response through housing policies and plans which was produced in partnership with the Aboriginal Housing Management Association. 

One major finding of the analysis conducted on the HNRs was the limited and often absent inclusion of local Indigenous housing needs. Where this was the case, our tool explains the significance of this critical omission. 


Why isn’t my community listed? 

Our goal was to include localized data for every community in BC. If your community is not included in our tool, it is likely due to one of the following reasons: 

  1. The local HNR was not publicly available during data analysis, by August 2022. 
  1. The HNR published by the community did not report on the priority areas identified for this project or included poor quality methods. 

If you’d like to know specifically why your community is not available, please contact directly. We will provide you with any data and information we have available.  


Why are some highlights focused on regional districts and not on my local community? 

The legislation in place for the HNRs allowed partnerships between two or more local governments for the sake of potential benefits and efficiencies. Different communities took different approaches to these partnerships with regards to the separation and aggregation of data and, in many cases, it led to analyses made with a regional focus rather than a local focus.  

 Additionally, it is likely that if a group of local governments decided to prepare reports jointly, those communities are highly integrated in terms of local housing experiences and needs.  


What is the information shown in grey to the right of the highlights? 

Information shown in grey next to the highlights aims to bring relevant pieces of research done by academics and housing advocates to contextualize and/or elaborate on the importance of each highlight. A complete list of research sources can be found below. 

If you have any questions about the research included, please contact 


What data sources were used to create the local snapshots? 

Key Demographics: Statistics Canada, 2021 Canadian Census, except for “Household Income by tenure” and “Proportion of renter households spending 30% or more of their income in housing”, which uses data from the 2016 Canadian Census, as it has not been released for the latest census at the time of publishing. 

Housing Construction Data: Custom order from CMHC, 2015-2021 Starts and Completions by intended market and by type of dwelling. 


Research Sources 

  • From 1994 until 2014, purpose-built rentals accounted for 10% of new builds. Policy decisions have allowed it to increase up to 29% in 2019. 

Pomeroy, S. (2021a). “Toward Evidence Based Policy: Assessing the CMHC Rental Housing Finance Initiative (RCFI).”Centre for Urban Research and Education (No. 12). 


  • In Canada, for every one unit of affordable rental housing built, 15 private rental homes under $750/month are lost. 
  1. Pomeroy, Why Canada Needs a Non-market Rental Acquisition Strategy, Current Insights blog, Focus Consulting Inc., 2020. 


  • As of 2021, across BC the subsidized housing waitlist for seniors increased by 8% and the median wait time (2 years) increased 19% from 2020. 

Office of the Seniors Advocate (2022). 2021/22 Annual Report. Victoria, BC. 


  • 34,000 units renting below $750/month were demolished for redevelopment of older rental buildings in B.C. between 2011 and 2016. 

MacPhail, J., Atkey, J., Finlayson, J., McCaulay, B., Paish, S., & Pastrick, H. (2021). Opening Doors: Unlocking Housing Supply for Affordability. Vancouver: Canada-BC Expert Panel on Housing Supply and Affordability 


  • For every $1 invested in affordable housing, Ontario was able to grow their GDP by $1.54 and every $1M created 8.49 jobs. 

Zon, N., Molson, M., Oschinski, M. (2014). Building Blocks. The Case for Federal Investment in Social and Affordable Housing in Ontario. 


  • With each shelter bed cost in the range of $2,000/month, prevention and rapid rehousing are much more cost-effective solutions to homelessness. 

BC Rental Housing Coalition. (2017). An Affordable Housing Plan for BC. 


  • Crowding impacts negatively children’s educational outcomes, child development outcomes and the physical and mental health of occupants. 

Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (2018). Outcomes of Stable, Affordable Housing: A Synthesis of Findings. Research Insight. 


  • On a single day (April 18,2018), 699 women and 236 accompanying children were turned away from domestic violence shelters across Canada. 

Statistics Canada. (2019a). First results from the Canadian Housing Survey, 2018. 


  • Every dollar invested in supportive housing creates $4-$5 in social and/or economic value, including improved well-being and increased spending. 

BC Housing (n.d.). Community Benefits of Supportive Housing. 


  • Affordable rental housing construction has a spillover effect in the economy, increasing labour, and disposable income for spending 

BC Rental Housing Coalition. (2017). “An Affordable Housing Plan for BC”. 


  • Housing supports give households in need greater financial flexibility and can provide the necessary stability to secure employment. 

Zon, N., Molson, M., Oschinski, M. (2014). Building Blocks. The Case for Federal Investment in Social and Affordable Housing in Ontario. 


  • Vulnerably housed people face the same risk of serious problems with their health, accessing services, safety and food as people who are homeless. 

Mental Health Commission of Canada (n.d.). Turning the Key: Assessing Housing and Related Supports for Persons Living with Mental Health Problems and Illness. 


  • Only 4% of women leave transition houses for an affordable home in BC. 75% of women remain temporarily sheltered or return to their abuser.  

Ashlie, K., Knowles, T., & FitzGerald, A.S. (2021). Getting Home Project: Overcoming barriers to housing after violence. BC Society of Transition Houses.,in%20British%20Columbia%20(BC) 


  • Seniors are the fastest growing demographic group experiencing homelessness in BC, averaging 21% of the homeless population in 2020. 

The Homelessness Services Association of BC (2021). 2020/21 Report on Homeless Counts in B.C. Prepared for BC Housing. Burnaby, BC 


  • Where population and employment grew fastest in Canada in the recent period, housing prices and rents rose fastest too. 

Pomeroy,S., & Maclennan,D.(2019). Rental Housing in Canda’s Cities: Challenges & Responses. FCM, Maytree. 


  • Supportive housing improves the stability and health of people with disabilities and reduces their use of health care and risk of homelessness. 

Dohler, E., Bailey, P., Rice, D., Katch, H. (2016). Supportive Housing Helps Vulnerable People Live and Thrive in the Community. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Washingon, DC. 


  • Longer periods of homelessness in youth are associated with worse health/well-being, and higher risk of exploitation, trauma and addictions. 

Gaetz, S., O’Grady, B., Kidd, S., Schwan, K. (2016). Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press. 


  • The need for non-market housing can grow as market housing is increasingly priced out of reach of those earning local incomes.  

MacPhail, J., Atkey, J., Finlayson, J., McCaulay, B., Paish, S., & Pastrick, H. (2021). Opening Doors: Unlocking Housing Supply for Affordability. Vancouver: Canada-BC Expert Panel on Housing Supply and Affordability 


  • As of 2017, the main barriers to accessing housing for people experiencing homelessness were high rents (53%), low incomes (51%), and a lack of suitable, available housing (30%). 

The Homelessness Services Association of BC, Urban Matters, and BC Non-Profit Housing Association. (2018). 2018 Report on Homeless Counts in B.C. Prepared for BC Housing. Burnaby, BC: Metro Vancouver. 


  • Seniors suffer more evictions and experience more homelessness than their younger counterparts, due to financial and employment limitations. 

B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association and M.Thomson Consulting. (2017). 2017 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver. Prepared for the Metro Vancouver Homelessness Partnering Strategy Community Entity. Burnaby, BC: Metro Vancouver.,125,157 

S Ng, S Rizvi, M E Kunik. Prevalence of Homeless Older Adults and Factors Causing Their Homelessness: A Review. The Internet Journal of Geriatrics and Gerontology. 2013 Volume 8 Number 1. 


  • Those with a physical disability or mental illness are twice as likely to live in poverty and make up 45% of those experiencing homelessness. 

Ashlie, K., Knowles, T., & FitzGerald, A.S. (2021). Getting Home Project: Overcoming barriers to housing after violence. BC Society of Transition Houses.,in%20British%20Columbia%20(BC) 

Homeless Hub. (n.d.). Poverty [Review of Poverty]. Homeless Hub. Retrieved April, 2022, from 


  • Investments in rental housing helps increase housing options, adds to overall affordability, and adds to the fluidity of the labor market. 

BC Rental Housing Coalition. (2017). “An Affordable Housing Plan for BC”. 

de Boer, R. and R. Bitetti (2014),’’A Revival of the Private Rental Sector of the Housing Market?: Lessons from Germany, Finland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands’’, OECD Economics Department Working Papers, No. 1170, OECD Publishing, Paris.