The Comox Valley is getting provincial cash to develop an affordable housing strategy.

The province is doling out nearly $1.5 million in provincial grants.

The money will be used to develop housing needs reports to plan for long-term housing needs.

The first intake of the housing needs reports funding program approved 30 applications, involving 50 municipalities and 10 regional districts in all parts of the Province.

The Comox Valley Regional District (including Comox, Courtenay, and Cumberland) is receiving $105,000.

The reports will assess key housing needs, including the need for affordable housing, rental housing and homes for seniors, people with special needs, families and people at risk of homelessness.

The province says it will also help develop workforce housing to help employers retain employees and support local economic growth.

As well, the province says it has made most of the data required by local governments, such as demographics and household income levels, available online at no cost. 

Once complete, each report will be presented to a local government council or board. They are also publicly available online to anyone seeking to better understand local housing needs.

“I am excited to see so many strong applications from municipalities and regional districts that are eager to identify and meet their housing needs, so people can live, work and continue to build prosperous lives in their communities,” housing minister Selina Robinson said.

“Collectively, we need to work together to build the right kinds of homes for people across the province. These reports will give us the kind of community-specific information we need to make sure we meet people’s housing needs.”

The new legislation will ensure local governments collect data, analyze trends and develop a report every five years on current and anticipated housing needs. To support this work, the province is providing $5 million over the next three years through a program administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM). 

The next intake for funding is open until Nov. 29, 2019.