The City of Vancouver’s Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) is taking steps to build 400 new affordable homes on four City-owned sites, worth $50 million. These sites are the first four of the 20 City-owned sites offered to senior levels of government to build affordable homes in partnership with VAHA.
Affordable Housing and Support for Renters
Yesterday, I met with representatives of the “Our Homes Can’t Wait” campaign in the Downtown Eastside to discuss issues of housing affordability and poverty in the neighbourhood. It was a good meeting with a clear articulation from residents about their frustrations with stagnant welfare rates, rising housing costs, and a dire need for renewal of decrepit SRO rooms in the neighbourhood. I was joined by Councillor Andrea Reimer and several senior members of our housing, planning and community services staff.
Several agreements came out of the meeting.
I’ve been calling on the Province for over a year to take bold action on our overheated housing market and address the impacts of unregulated, speculative global capital on local real estate. The year-over-year price gains we’ve seen are not sustainable and put our City’s economy at risk. Today’s legislation is a major acknowledgement by the Province that they have an important role to play in the housing market and affordability is not simply an issue for municipalities to deal with.
Mayor Gregor Robertson and Council have approved a new social housing project in Oakridge that will bring 46 new affordable rental homes targeted toward seniors to the neighbourhood. The social housing, approved at public hearing last night, will be owned by the Oakridge Lutheran Church and Catalyst Community Development Society. The building replaces the existing one-storey church and delivers 15 studio, 15 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom homes.
Mayor Robertson and Council made progress in adding more supply to the City’s rental market at last night’s public hearing, approving two new projects under the City’s Rental 100 policy that will add 200 new homes in East Vancouver. Combined, the new projects will provide 29 studios, 105 one-bedroom, and 66 new family homes.
To increase housing options for Vancouver families, a report to Council next week will recommend new housing mix policies to increase the supply of family homes in new strata and rental buildings.
“Vancouver is growing and we need more housing built for families - historically the City didn't ensure enough was built to meet demand,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “This important policy will help make our neighbourhoods more family friendly and vibrant, and ensure that as Vancouver grows, families can find housing options that work for them.”