PORT MCNEILL, B.C. – The Mount Waddington region will soon have a strategy to build off to improve housing.

The Mount Waddington Health Network (MWHN) has announced the Mount Waddington Regional Housing Strategy.

It builds off the results of the 2013 Housing Needs Assessment. It will help improve housing quality, accessibility and affordability in the North Island region.

The strategy will help connect local organizations with housing-related funding opportunities. It will also help create partnerships with external housing providers and offer resources for building capacity around housing.

According to a release from the MWHN, the strategy will explore potential solutions to address what’s known as “off-market housing”. These are units that are vacant, but for different reasons, are not available to rent.

“Housing affordability is key concern in the Regional District of Mount Waddington. Currently, the average cost of a home rental in the region exceeds median after-tax income,” read the release.

“The housing strategy addresses all levels of housing. From professionals and families who want to move to the region or build, to social housing and rental security, the strategy will provide leadership in the sector and allow growth in our region,” said Pat Corbett-Labatt, chair of the MWHN, in the release.

BC Healthy Communities, a non-profit society that specializes in health- and equity-focused planning, will assist with the development of the strategy.

The MWHN expects to release the final strategy in July.

The Mount Waddington Health Network is Vancouver Island’s oldest health network, and is funded by Island Health.