Assessing Housing Need

A fundamental step to understanding what direction a Service Manager housing strategy should take is undestanding the current housing needs of the whole population and project how those needs will change over the period covered in the plan. A clear and complete needs assessment done at the beginning of the plan development process helps ensure all partners and stakeholdes begin with a shared understanding of the issues before them.

Steps to assess housing need:

  1. Assemble available data and information to develop a profile of the housing issues of the community. To assist with this step the Ministry has developed a Data Profile for each service manager. The profiles are a set of tables of relevant socio-economic and demographic data from secondary sources such as StatsCan, CMHC and the Ministry of Finance. To assist with the analysis of the data profiles the HHRC with the assistance of the Housing Services Corp. has created a guide. The guide is laid out in a way that is consistent with good practice for a need and demand study
  2. It is recognized that the information in the data profiles are useful for developing a high level indication of the relevant housing system issues. To assist with more detailed analysis of specific issues in the housing system HHRC and HSC have developed an Housing System Indicator Tool which breaks the housing system down into themes or a set of domains. When deeper analysis is required
  3. Develop projections of future needs
  4. Identify major issues in the existing housing system
  5. Determine gaps across whole housing system, that is the difference between housing needs by type and cost and what will be available in the housing market
  6. Supplement with infomation available through consultation
  7. Identify and prioritize key issues

As many Service Managers have found the development of a needs assessment is a defined project which requires skills that are not normally available within a Service Managers staff and consequently can be successfully outsourced to a consultant.