Determining housing need in rural Manitoba

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Sumner, Kevan
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With the aim of developing a housing needs assessment tool for rural Manitoba, the research investigates definitions of ‘rural’, the concept of housing need, and approaches to its assessment. The main question is: how can housing need be identified and quantified at the community or regional level? The response comes in the development of a community-based rural housing needs assessment guidebook (documented in Volume 2). Literature reviewed (Part 2) targets definitions of rural, and an examination of: methods of assessing housing need, the nature of housing need, trends in housing policy, housing services programming, and the determination of housing need at a local level. Throughout, there is a focus on application of relevant literature to informing the design and development of the guidebook. The key informant interview process and related ethical considerations are presented in Part 3. The precedents review, of prior housing needs assessments and guides, is also described. The results from these research methods interviews are presented in Part 4, again with a focus on identifying how each informed development of the guidebook. Part 4 concludes with a description of the design of the housing needs assessment guidebook, addressing the structure and scope of the assessment process, key considerations and components included in the guide, the two-phase process that constitutes the main information-generating component of the tool, and the discrepancy model used to guide the user through the assessment process. Design of a sample survey (an optional component of the guide) is also briefly discussed, as well as perceived limitations of the guide including the need for a complementary strategic planning process that picks up where the assessment leaves off, which might merit a second guide that details such further steps. Certain realities of housing needs assessment in rural Manitoba, and complicating aspects of the discrepancy model, are also discussed. Part 5 details the early stages of application of components of the housing needs assessment guide in the Minnedosa area of Manitoba. Strengths and weaknesses of the components are identified, and associated refinements and changes are noted. It is concluded (Part 6) that the rural housing needs assessment guide is a viable means of identifying housing need in rural Manitoba. Possible benefits of its application are noted, but there are also cautions regarding further desirable or necessary research.
housing, guide, need, rural, Manitoba, assessment, survey, profile, community