20131214-154657.jpg

A recent article announced 3.9 million dollars in upgrades at two apartment buildings(they used to house a cesspool of criminal activity) to complete the transition into 70 affordable housing units. This announcement made me realize there has been a huge amount of positive change in Kamloops in a very short time.

Kamloops has seen a significant decrease in street crime since 2006(theft from vehicles, break and enters, assaults , robbery, drugs). In fact, I moved here from my previous post in hopes of finding the exciting work my colleagues talked about who had recently moved from Kamloops. From car chases, to kicking down doors at drug houses, to investigating major crime, it all sounded like great fun. Much to my surprise, when I arrived in 2009, the work was far more tame than I expected. Statistically, and my subjective experience are clear: crime is far less prominent in Kamloops than it used to be.

In part, this is thanks to a concerted effort by the Kamloops RCMP in a Crime Reduction Initiative. Kamloops was among the first in the country to adopt this strategy which targets known crime hot spots, the root causes of crime and Prolific Offenders.

20131214-125309.jpg

Prolific Offenders are the 10% of offenders who commit 80% of the crimes.

Besides police efforts, there has been a massive growth in outreach services and affordable housing units. I am convinced this has had as much of an impact on reducing crime as police efforts, if not more.

Here is a timeline of the recent housing projects that have been battling homelessness and addiction:

  • 2012-$3.5 million purchase and renovation of Rendezvous Strip Club to Emergency Shelter
  • 2010 – $4.3 million purchase of Crossroad Inn transitional housing
  • 2010 – $5.6 million purchase and reno of once notorious buildings by Door to Roof Society
  • 2009 – $4.45 million Henry Leland House supportive housing development
  • In total, there are over 1,800 units of social and supportive housing in Kamloops. A list(not exhaustive )can be found here.

    It is $18,000 cheaper per year to house a homeless person than to leave him homeless.

    When the city of Kamloops saves this money, it can keep taxes lower, as described in my article here.

    The link between crime and housing in Kamloops is clear.

    Why does any of this matter to a Real Estate Investor?

    1. When people are housed, they are stable, can access resources(ie to kick a drug habit) and less likely to be engaged in crimes(many theft from vehicles are by addicts).

    2. An area with lower crime is a safer place to do business, more attractive to families, both these are positive influencers on rent and housing prices.

    3. Lower taxes(less services used by homeless people) puts more money in the pocket of the investor(you and me).

    4. There is an opportunity in Kamloops for the savvy investor who wants to work within the affordable housing segment of the market. There is currently a demand for 1632 private market rental units ($400-600 rent per person). This demand is expected to grow to almost 2000 units by 2025.

    Not to mention, in light of the Christmas season being upon us, housing the homeless is just the right thing to do :).

    Until next time,

    Stay S.A.F.E.