CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Charlottetown’s youth retention advisory board is hearing that there is a growing need for affordable housing.
The board, called Charlottetown Youth Matters, launched a survey on Jan. 17 to collect data on housing for people between the ages of 16 and 35.
The goal was to collect meaningful data from youth to help stage policy and direction to address housing concerns.
Alex Youland, a member of the group, said they’ve been surprised at how much feedback has been coming in.
“We had over 500 respondents in 72 hours. That was very surprising to us,’’ Youland said Monday.
“That was kind of one of the goals we had for the number of respondents . . . for the entire month.’’
What they are finding from the respondents is that those who have filled out the survey are highly educated. Many of them have a college diploma or higher.
“A lot of people were living off-Island but (are) planning to move back to the Island. Many of the people were looking to do that over the next two years,’’ he said, referring to the greater need for affordable housing.
“Given the market for housing on the Island, we have people who want to come home, but is there necessarily a place for them to do so.’’
They’ve also found out that, of the people who filled out the survey, most are renting.
“Just over half were spending about 30 per cent of their total household income on housing, so it’s a pretty alarming number there.’’
It terms of defining what constitutes affordable housing, Youland said it’s important to allow the survey to close out on Friday, Feb. 16, before drawing any conclusions.
“We're trying to define affordable housing for young people and we’re not necessarily speaking to assisted living or funded housing or low income housing.’’
The survey is intended for youth currently living in Charlottetown and those outside the city or province who moved away, want to move back or who have general concerns about housing for youth in the city.
“We want to be able to gather all this information and really help to define what that is and let the city know and anyone else who might be interested in this information – whether that be developers or the provincial government or someone who is concerned with this issue.’’
Youland acknowledges there has been plenty of conversation about affordable housing in Charlottetown. The city’s mayor is looking to develop a policy on it, although it isn’t exclusive to any age group.
Youland said the ultimate goal is keeping people in the city and province, and they want to make sure housing isn’t what is keeping that from happening.