Addressing Core Housing Need in the City of Saint John, New Brunswick

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MacDonald, Natasha
core housing need , affordable housing , housing policy
Housing fulfills one of the most basic human needs, the need for shelter, and therefore significantly impacts a household’s quality of life. Factors such as market trends, housing conditions, income levels, and poverty rates affect a household’s ability to obtain affordable, adequate and suitable housing. When a household must spend more than 30% of their total before-tax income on shelter, reside in substandard housing conditions, and/or do not have sufficient bedrooms for their household needs, this is categorized as being in core housing need. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) measurement of core housing need was used to examine housing need in the Province of New Brunswick and more specifically the City of Saint John. To discuss the complex issue of core housing need, this report addressed the following research questions: 1) How does core housing need in New Brunswick compare to the rest of Canada? 2) What provincial strategies have been developed to tackle core housing need? 3) How does the City of Saint John differ from the rest of New Brunswick concerning core housing need? 4) How are the specific housing needs of the City of Saint John addressed through provincial and local strategies? When examining core housing need in Canada, it was found that the ability to afford housing is the primary struggle among households at the national, provincial and municipal levels. However, there are two key differences between core need households in Canada, New Brunswick and the City of Saint John. First, the incidence of core housing need in the City of Saint John increased from 2006 to 2011, whereas there was a decline in Canada and New Brunswick during this period. Secondly, New Brunswick and the City of Saint John have a higher incidence of inadequate housing and a higher percentage of core need households falling below this standard. Due to the unique housing issues faced in the City of Saint John, this report assessed existing housing strategies and provided recommendations at the national, provincial and municipal levels to further alleviate core housing need in the City.
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