Healthy Housing Strategy

The broader topic of housing is a community-wide issue that directly impacts people's physical and social health. As part of the Healthy City Strategy, City planners and Interior Health public health practitioners are working together with a focus on the second of six theme areas: healthy housing.

We developed the Healthy Housing Strategy to address the community’s most pressing housing issues. The five-year plan, endorsed by Council on June 25, 2018, was developed in alignment with the Journey Home Strategy to address Council’s top priorities of homelessness and housing diversity. 

The Healthy Housing Strategy includes 19 actions within the Strategy’s four key directions:

  1. Promote and protect rental housing
  2. Improve housing affordability and reduce barriers for affordable housing
  3. Build the right supply
  4. Strengthen partnerships and align investments 

While the Healthy Housing Strategy is being led by the City, it requires the collective efforts of all levels of government, public and private sectors, community partners and residents to implement and embrace the 19 actions.

Prior to developing the Healthy Housing Strategy, we completed a Housing Needs Assessment, which paints a picture of Kelowna today, in the short‐term and in the long‐term (2040) to provide an understanding of our housing needs now and how they may shift over time. The Housing Needs Assessment built a strong base of knowledge that contributes to robust and appropriate strategies and actions that have real, measurable and positive impacts on our housing challenges. 

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Philosophy behind the strategy

A healthy housing supply is fundamental for a livable city inclusive of all citizens. One of the goals for a sustainable future outlined in the Kelowna 2030 - Official Community Plan is to "address housing needs of all residents by working towards an adequate supply of a variety of housing."

Determining future housing needs allows municipalities to influence growth patterns and build infrastructure that supports the community. We can positively impact the housing supply by defining appropriate densities for various neighbourhoods and creating a mix of housing.

Awards & recognition

On May 8, 2019, the City and Urban Matters received a Gold Award for "Excellence in Planning" from the Planning Institute of BC (PIBC) for Equity and Inclusion in Housing Needs Assessments. The work represents an innovative approach to understanding housing needs of our community - both today and into the future. This work included creating a new housing continuum called the Wheelhouse, which introduces and promotes equity and inclusion, as well as taking a resiliency and health lens. On May 27, 2019, this award was presented to City Council.

We would like to recognize Urban Matters, Interior Health and other key community stakeholders for their contributions to the project. The PIBC 2019 awards news release outlines all the 2019 award winners.

Rental Housing Inventory

On Aug. 26, 2019, City staff presented Council with an overview of the Rental Housing Inventory, which was one of the 19 recommended actions identified within the Healthy Housing Strategy’s key directions. Based on BC Assessment data and cross-referenced with the City’s business license list, the Rental Housing Inventory provides a clearer picture of the current multi-unit, purpose-built rental stock. The inventory has also been made publicly available through two layers (Rental Housing – Primary Market and Rental Housing – Subsidized) in the Kelowna Map Viewer System.

Affordable housing

As an open and inclusive city, we’re working to make sure people from all walks of life can find their place in our community:

  • Our Rental Housing Grants program provides up to $300,000 in annual grants to offset development cost charges for affordable rental housing projects. In 2020, three projects received grants, supporting 142 new affordable rental units in Kelowna. In addition to the grant incentives, rental projects can also benefit from 10-year tax exemptions.
  • The Housing Opportunities Reserve Fund encourages the development of affordable housing. The Fund relies on taxation, land sales, revenues and other resources. The money is used to acquire lands suited to development opportunities that would include affordable housing.
  • We have also simplified the application process for building legal secondary suites. Nearly 350 fully licensed suites came on the market in 2015, compared to 100 units in 2012 before the process changed. An additional 25 carriage houses were also built in 2015.

In addition to advocating and planning for housing options to meet all needs, we work with community partners to assist those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. We have provided properties at no cost to BC Housing for the development of affordable housing partnerships, including Cardington apartments, Tutt Street apartments and KARIS Society, to name a few.

Finding affordable housing in Kelowna

BC Housing is the recommended resource for housing financial support as they have the most up-to-date information on application details and rent subsidies. Visit the BC Housing website and click on the “Housing Assistance” menu. BC Housing’s website also contains the BC Housing Registry, which lists most subsidized housing in Kelowna, and a subsidized housing application page.

You can also see our inventory of purpose built and subsidized rental units on our Map Viewer.

You can contact the BC Housing - Interior Region Office in Penticton at 1-800-834-7149 or InteriorRegion@bchousing.org.

Other Housing Resources

Please note, the following list is for information purposes only and not an inclusive list.

2019 Annual Housing Report

The City’s Annual Housing Report summarizes key data and statistics related to the ownership market and long-term rental housing market for the previous year. This research-oriented report provides an opportunity to understand how the rental housing and ownership markets are performing in relation to key targets identified in the City’s Healthy Housing Strategy.

2019 Housing Report