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It costs less to house a person in a suite than a shelter

$22,000 a year to house a person in a bachelor suite, but $31,000 in an emergency shelter
A new report says it is cheaper to house a homeless person in a bachelor suite than in an emergency shelter. (Black Press File)

A new report says it is cheaper to house a homeless person in a bachelor suite than in an emergency shelter.

The 2018 edition of Victoria’s Vital Signs published by the Victoria Foundation says it costs an average of $22,000 per person per year to provide housing support in a bachelor suite, but $31,000 to provide it via emergency shelter space in quoting the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.

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These figures appear in the report’s section on housing, where the authors give the Greater Victoria region a grade of C-minus — a ranking consistent with other portions of the report, which combines published secondary sources, with survey results.

According to the report, 41 per cent of those surveyed ranked housing as the most important issue facing the Greater Victoria region, behind cost of living, which 49 per cent considered the most important. (The survey asked participants to rank the region’s top 12 issues).

The two categories are of course not mutually exclusive, and the report suggests that cost of living is particular concern for individuals, who rent in the Greater Victoria region.

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According to the report, 46 per cent of renter households in Greater Victoria spent more than 30 per cent of their gross (before tax) monthly income on shelter in 2015. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) defines housing as affordable when a household spends less than 30 per cent of its gross monthly income on acceptable shelter.

By way of background, the average apartment rent for all unit types was $1,072, with rents ranging from $850 for a bachelor suite to $1,568 for three-plus bedroom units.

This gross shelter-to-income ratio improves when looking at individuals, who own their own home. Only 22 per cent of home-owners spend more than 30 per cent of housing.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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