Town council enthusiastically gave the green light for a housing needs assessment.
Cochrane Society for Housing Options (CSHO) currently has 38 affordable housing units in the Town of Cochrane.
As it has been 10 years since the town last conducted a housing needs assessment, council was favourable to redirect $25,000 in reserve funds to allow the society to proceed with a study that aims to be completed in less than 12 months.
In the last decade, the town’s population has nearly doubled and as is the case for most social infrastructure – so has the demand.
Corinne Burns, executive director of CSHO, said that the gap seems to exist to connect individuals with affordable housing, as well as those in need of living supports – including adults with intellectual disabilities, who may require live-in supports.
“Historically, since we’ve operated the affordable housing program in Cochrane, the biggest demand has always been on individual units,” explained Burns.
While the wait list has fluctuated between 60 and 30 names at any given time, the list has been around 30 in recent years due to a softening in the rental housing market.
Affordable housing still appears to be a challenge for singles, however, and Burns is hopeful a needs assessment will provide the organization with better clarity on how to move forward.
Burns said that CSHO and the town tout the HomeStead Building (the blue building with FCSS on the ground floor) with 21 or the town’s 38 units as a “success,” largely due to it’s central location and access to social services.
She said should the needs assessment results align with other indicators, the team would look to champion a replication of the building on other lands in the downtown core.
As far as potential inclusion of affordable housing in the Tri-Site plans (Fifth Ave rodeo grounds site namely), Burns said that CSHO is “pleased with looking at whatever opportunities may exist.”
Burns said she is looking forward to seeing solutions to a “one size fits all approach” to rental units and that “anyone is eligible to apply to the affordable housing program, providing they have lived or worked in Cochrane for six months.”
The society will now apply for provincial grant dollars to potentially lessen the price tag of the needs assessment.
Learn more at csho.ca.