Housing affordability is the top social issue affecting Nelson, according to respondents of a survey distributed by Nelson’s Social Planning Action Network Society earlier this year.
One-hundred-fifty people responded to the four-question surveys distributed this past March. The goal of the survey was to identify an action-oriented project that SPAN could undertake to address a priority social issue.
SPAN representatives Katie Tabor and Kate Nott presented the survey results at a city council meeting last week.
“Top themes were: addressing affordable housing, job opportunities, poverty and mental health services,” Nott told 103.5 The Bridge, following the meeting.
Nott said she wasn’t surprised by the results, noting people often bring up these concerns often in conversations with her.
“It’s important we, as a community, do more than just talk about these issues, but actually take steps … to make this an even better community.”
She added that 75 of the survey respondents indicated that they wanted to continue to work with SPAN to develop their community project.
Of respondents, 38 per cent recommended SPAN focus on increasing the affordable housing stock in Nelson, while 19 per cent wanted the group to help enhance local employment opportunities, and 12 per cent said mental health services should be the priority.
In the coming weeks SPAN will reach out to those interested in helping design the project.
“We’re not going to tell people what the plan is, we want to hear from them what they think we should be doing,” Nott explained.
The survey also asked respondents to identify what they believe is Nelson’s greatest asset. The natural surroundings (22%), our sense of community (16%), the people (13%) were the most popular responses.
A final question asked what would make Nelson a healthier and stronger community. The top answers were: more opportunities for inclusive community collaboration (20%), more affordable and accessible housing (14%), and taking actions to address poverty (12%).
Anyone interested in helping SPAN develop its community project can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-352-6011.