Council approves Vancouver’s first co-housing proposal

Last night City Council approved Vancouver’s first co-housing project, of which there are only nine in Canada. The project is the first to be enabled by the City’s new affordable housing interim rezoning bylaw, which arose from recommendations of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability Task Force.

The new cohousing project on E 33rd Avenue will feature 31 housing units in a three storey building, and is more affordable due to shared spaces and common areas such as kitchens, gathering spaces, and meeting rooms.

“Confronting the challenge of housing affordability has been a top priority of my work as Mayor, and it’s encouraging to see early progress after the steps we’ve taken to enable innovative and affordable housing projects like this one,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Vancouver needs affordable housing that fits with our neighbourhoods and makes our city more livable for everyone, especially seniors, students, and young families. This co-housing project is another creative step toward meeting that need.”

Co-housing facilitates community through shared spaces and unique interactions with neighbours. It was a popular choice in housing affordability consultations and last summer’s re:Think Housing international ideas competition, in which two co-housing projects won People’s Choice awards.

The City of Vancouver has taken a number of steps to make housing more affordable in Vancouver and to support renters and residents in need. These include:

  • Launching a Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability
  • Approving the development of an arms-length Affordable Housing Authority
  • Offering six sites of city-owned land for lease to non-profits for affordable rental housing
  • Hosting the ‘re:THINK Housing’ international ideas competition to solicit ideas from around the world on how to create new affordable housing
  • The opening of Vancouver’s first Rent Bank, to support renters in crisis with short-term loans
  • The creation of the Rental 100 Program, which provides incentives for the development of new, 100% rental buildings
  • The launch of the online Rental Standards Database, which will enable renters to search out buildings that have current safety issues

The links to the full staff report and presentation on this new co-housing project can be found here: