The Bowen Island Housing Needs Assessment identified the following groups of individuals and households as the priorities for affordable housing on Bowen Island:
Core need households. This group consists of approximately 100 renter and owner households on fixed or very low incomes, and may include young families, single parents, self-employed individuals, artists, persons with disabilities and others. They need housing with rent geared to their income, whatever that may be, and this usually requires a deep subsidy. It could be low end of market rental housing with a rent supplement or social housing.
Renters. Again this is a varied group, characterized as young families (perhaps saving for downpayment), service industry employees, persons with disabilities and perhaps some seniors with low to moderate incomes. In 2001, there were about 200 renter households on Bowen. Since construction of purpose built apartment rental housing is not likely, options for Bowen would be secondary suites or accessory dwellings, small cottages or townhouses/row houses. Some low end of market rental units would be appropriate, perhaps protected by covenants or housing agreements, since market rental prices are often too high.
Young families and moderate-income households. Not traditionally viewed as a group that needs assistance in the housing market, this priority group is becoming more of a concern on Bowen and elsewhere. They typically earn moderate incomes, and may include young families, artists or others. Some options for this group would be houses with suites or accessory dwellings that would act as a mortgage helper or medium density market housing like townhouses or row houses which are the predominant housing choice of young families elsewhere in Greater Vancouver. Another option is smaller cottage style homes. There would need to be some protection from rising resale prices to preserve affordability over the longer term. At this time, the number of young family/moderate income households seeking affordable housing on Bowen is unknown. They likely comprise some of the current renter households. It may be prudent to initiate a waiting list or application system that would help to gauge the size of this group.
Empty nesters. Although not necessarily falling into the low or moderate-income category, empty nesters have significant unmet housing needs and could help to meet some of the priority needs. These households would like to purchase well- located medium density market housing like townhouses or row houses and they have the ability to pay for it. However, if these units contained a secondary suite or if the empty nester decided to rent their unit for a period, they could be a source of needed rental housing accommodation.
See Bowen Housing Profile page