Council approves new affordable rental housing for families

Mayor Gregor Robertson and City Council approved a new rental housing development at Heather Place today that will feature 230 units of new affordable rental housing in Vancouver’s Fairview neighbourhood – over half of which are geared towards families. 52 units will have subsidized rents to enhance affordability.

The two-building project on W 13th Avenue and W 14th Avenue at Willow Street will replace 86 units of Metro Vancouver housing in aging existing buildings. A tenant relocation agreement will also offer current tenants the opportunity to relocate into the new development and remain in their homes as the new construction proceeds in phases. Those who currently have subsidized rents will pay the same amount in the new units.

“Over half of all Vancouver residents rent their homes, and this project will provide urgently-needed new affordable rental housing in a way that supports families, fits with the neighbourhood, and protects current renters on site,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “This project builds on two consecutive record years for new rental housing in Vancouver, and reflects City Hall’s commitment to making our city more affordable for residents of all backgrounds – especially seniors, students, and young families.”

At least 52 units (23%) in the new mixed-income rental housing project must offer subsidized rents, while a total of 118 units are two and three-bedroom configurations designed for families. 5% of the units will also be designed to be immediately occupied by residents living with disabilities.

The project will feature a significant multi-purpose indoor amenity space; a gym, kitchen, and accessible washrooms on the ground floor; and a skills-developing outdoor playground for children of all ages at the corner of Willow Street and 14th Avenue.

The approval of this new project at Heather Place continues City Hall’s consistent work to support renters and make housing more affordable in Vancouver. These steps include:

  • Two consecutive record years for new rental housing, with over 1000 units approved in both 2012 and 2013
  • Approving 2,839 new rental units in the past 3 years: achieving 189% of the City's current target (and more than halfway to Vancouver’s target for 2021)
  • Approving over 1,600 new laneway homes and secondary suites in the last 3 years alone
  • Delivering on the recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability
  • Enabling significant new affordable housing with an innovative partnership that is creating 355 new affordable rental units on 4 City-owned sites in Southeast Vancouver
  • Hiring a new Chief Housing Officer for the City of Vancouver
  • Approving the development of an arms-length Affordable Housing Authority
  • Approving Vancouver’s first-ever co-housing project
  • 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
  • Launching the Online Rental Standards Database, which enables renters to search out buildings that have current safety issues and led to a 75% drop in all building safety violations
  • Hosting the ‘re:THINK Housing’ international ideas competition to solicit ideas from around the world on how to create new affordable housing

For the detailed staff report on the project, please click here:
http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20140311/documents/p3.pdf