Social Housing in the Context of Rural Depopulation

Social housing stock in some areas of rural Canada has high vacancy rates due to depopulation of these communities. One issues arising from this situation is the financial viability of these projects. With vacancies in some rural communities and waiting lists for social housing in many urban communities it is also important to address questions of best use of housing projects with vacancies as well as how to determine the location of future social housing projects. Macro (structural), community and property characteristics all contribute to the vacancies. The boom and bust cycle in single-industry communities (as are common in the north) is also a factor in depopulation and thus housing vacancies. Changes in household size also play a role in vacancies, and types of changes vary across communities. Issues related to the projects themselves include structures that are older and in poor repair, lack of good property management, poor location, and lack of amenities and services. Solutions to social housing vacancies need to address issues at a variety of levels and be specific to each unique community. Homelessness is not specifically addressed in this document.

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