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Unmet housing needs are the worst in BC: report

Last Updated Nov 3, 2016 at 12:38 pm PDT

Dr. Perry Kendall addresses housing needs for children in a report released by the provincial government. (Martin MacMahon, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Findings likely are not surprising given the out of control real estate market in Metro Vancouver

The province examined 51 health indicators and admits more work needs to be done

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A new report finds there’s a link between the well-being of your children and housing in BC and it shows there is no other province in the country that’s worse than ours when it comes to the percentage of people with unmet housing needs. It found 18.2 per cent of people living in urban areas don’t have the housing needs they need.

Given the affordability crisis we’re seeing in many parts of the province, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised about the consequences of soaring rents and real estate prices in recent years. “It means families that are having challenges finding stable housing, where children can grow up in a neighbourhood and be connected to their neighbourhood and their schools,” says Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

The report is titled ‘Is Good, Good Enough?’ and it looks at 51 health indicators and the essence of it is while improvements have been made in many areas, there is still a lot of work left to be done. “It’s one of the things we know has an impact on their ability to learn and the ability to grow, on the ability to have healthy food in the house,” adds Henry.

The report breaks down five factors of a child’s well-being that includes: physical health, mental and emotional health, social relationships, economic and material well-being and cognitive development.

“Strong progress has been made in supporting the health of the province’s young people, but there are some disparities in health and well-being, particularly based on sex/gender and geography. There are about 960,000 children and youth in BC, and more exploration, analyses and focused attention are needed to ensure that groups of them are not left behind as the overall health of this population improves,” says Dr. Perry Kendall.

The report also offers five recommendations for collective action among government, ministries, communities, health authorities, school boards, and children. These include calling for a commitment to address health gaps based on sex and gender and geography and creating an ongoing forum to engage BC youth with community stakeholders.