In September 2021, the Hornby Island Housing Network was created to bring together various island organizations and levels of local government that include housing in their mandate. The intention was to share information and resources, with the goal of co-creating a housing strategy for the island with clearly defined roles and responsibilities for each organization.

An immediate challenge was identified: the lack of a comprehensive picture of the community that included current data in all the social determinants of health areas. Although, a wealth of information had been gathered over the years by various island organizations and individuals in their efforts to create and fund services and programs that benefit the community, it became readily apparent that there was considerable duplication of effort, loss of historical data, the creation of information silos specific to each group’s focus, limited access to stored data and a lack of individual organizational capacity to carry out more in-depth research.

A secondary issue was identified, the lack of comparative data between similar communities, the province and the country as a whole. Although the organizations were aware of many inequities due to our rural, remote location and the disparity between low and high income residents, there was no current data to support that knowledge.

A sub-committee was formed to secure funding to create a comprehensive database for the Housing Network. Hornby Denman Health (formerly the Hornby & Denman Community Health Care Society) which serves both Hornby and Denman Islands requested that Denman be included in the project.

The Project

The Housing Network applied for funding from BC Healthy Communities to hire a research assistant to create comprehensive community profiles for both Hornby and Denman Islands, an easily accessed website to host the information, and a database that could be regularly updated. All three goals have been achieved. Several interactive maps of the communities have also been created, depicting the following: zoning, lots with houses, empty lots, aquifers, approved septic systems and lots with Short Term Rentals. This information will be key data for the creation of a housing strategy for the islands.

Community Profiles

In order to determine what information would best meet our communities’ needs, the Research Assistant and Steering Committee reviewed other community profiles for both content and formatting and also researched the various definitions of the Social Determinants of Health.

The profiles for both islands include all available local, provincial and federal information available in the following social determinants of health: Economy, Education, Environment, Food Security, Health, Housing, Safety, Social Inclusion, and Transportation. The profiles also point out social inequities in access to services and the barriers underlying that inequity.

These profiles not only contain the information needed to co-create a housing strategy, they will also be used to inform short and long term planning for all the organizations, no matter what their mandate.

All Stats Canada information is presented as a percentage of the whole in order to see the differences in relation to the population of each area. The numbers for Denman and Hornby Islands have been added for planning purposes.

Effort has been made to present this information as it is with no analysis or conclusions drawn. We leave the information to our users to interpret for their specific area of focus.


The current database containing all the spreadsheets with all the data and contact information will be stored with the Hornby Island Housing Society.


Information was gathered from a wide range of community organizations and businesses on both islands, BC Open Data, and Census Canada. To ensure we gathered as broad a base of information as possible, we spoke to 7 accommodation providers; 19 boards; 16 store-based businesses; the Preschool, Community schools and the Senior Secondary school; 3 environmental groups; 4 Food Security groups; 8 health care providers; 4 realtors; 3 groups involved in community safety; and 9 activity groups.

Of these 69 sources, we received information back from 56.

We also included information gathered from another project; a group of self-identified precariously housed people on Hornby were interviewed over the winter of 2022 to gather current data about the number of community members living in unsafe, substandard and/or insecure housing.

Information gathered from that project is included in this report as it is possible that due to how the census forms are circulated on the islands, some of the renters included in our survey were missed in the census. We chose to include our numbers alongside the census numbers as due to some of the alternative housing situations, an undetermined number of those interviewed would not have been included in the census data. It was important to us that these voices be added to this report.

The draft profiles were circulated to all the participating organizations on both islands for their review and suggestions. Their feedback has been incorporated into the final report.

Next Phase

This is step one of a long-term vision for this project. We will be researching funding sources for the next phase of the project which will include the following goals:

  • Additional organizations and data that may have been missed in phase one, will be identified and added to future Community Profiles and the database.
  • Strategies will be created to address the issue of “hard to obtain” data.
  • The database will be updated at a minimum every 2 years to ensure the community always has current information to inform its planning.


The two island communities will be well served by the work that has been done over the last several months. Organizations that provide services and programs in all the sectors of the social determinants of health now have a much broader understanding of the state of our communities in significant areas and thus, will be better able to address the needs that are identified and to reduce the existing inequities of access to services.

On behalf of the Hornby Housing Network and the communities of Hornby and Denman Islands, we wish to thank our partners: BC Healthy Communities – Planh for funding this project; the Comox Valley Regional District for sponsoring our application; the Hornby Island Residents and Ratepayers Association for their financial management of the project and Denman Works for sponsoring the cost of printing of the report and public announcements of the successful completion of the project.