Housing Advocates, Experts Support New Vancouver Housing Strategy

25 Vancouver housing experts and activists are voicing support for the Housing Vancouver Strategy, the new 10-year affordable housing strategy for Vancouver that has been in development for more than a year.

“I’m encouraged that so many diverse stakeholders are coming out in support of the new Housing Vancouver strategy, and I urge all of Council to unanimously endorse it so that we can send a strong signal that all of Council—regardless of partisan affiliations—are aligned on reducing speculation and getting more affordable housing built,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “This strategy is about housing for homes, not investment commodities—getting 72,000 new homes built over the next decade that are affordable for people who live and work here.

“There’s no magic solution, but this is a bold, comprehensive strategy for housing. No other city in North America is doing as much—or prepared to do mor—than Vancouver.”

The strategy will be presented to Vancouver City Council the morning of Tuesday, November 28th at Council.

Statements on the new Housing Vancouver Strategy from local experts and advocates:

“This is a bold and comprehensive strategy that addresses specifically the housing needs of some of Vancouver’s most marginalized people, including women experiencing violence, urban indigenous people and people struggling with substance use and mental wellness, as well as the needs of Vancouver’s low and middle income workforce. We are excited about its ambition and the potential for the Housing Vancouver 3-year Action Plan to truly transform the lives of everyday Vancouverites.”

Janice Abbott, CEO, Atira Women’s Resource Society

 

“At Marianne Amodio Architecture Studio, we have been championing innovative and diverse housing forms not only as a response to housing affordability, but also as a means to strengthen our communities and beautify our streets. The City of Vancouver’s Housing Plan works towards addressing the disparity between the density at our urban cores and our single family neighbourhoods. It’s is a forward thinking vision - a suburban renewal -  that values environmental, financial and social sustainability and embraces design innovation and creativity as its tool.”

Marianne Amodio, Principal, MAAStudio

 

“The community housing sector welcomes the ambition and leadership shown by the City of Vancouver in announcing its proposed housing strategy. It’s especially significant that the City, province and federal government have all made a commitment to tackling our most acute housing challenges over the same ten-year period.  We look forward to working in partnership with the City in delivering on the promise of this announcement over the next decade.”

Thom Armstrong, Executive Director, Co-operative Housing Federation of BC

 

"Leadership matters as we see with our local government. Vancouver repeatedly demonstrates that as a City of Reconciliation, this goes beyond mere words. All levels of government must come to the table to make our housing projects a priority. Addressing housing and homelessness for Indigenous people means overall targets get addressed.”

Kevin Barlow, CEO, Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council

 

“As one of Vancouver’s largest managers and providers of low-barrier housing and shelter, PHS Community Services Society knows how desperate the need for affordable, appropriate housing for Vancouver’s most vulnerable citizens is, not just in the Downtown Eastside, but in many Vancouver neighbourhoods. We’re glad to see that the Vancouver Housing Strategy includes plans for improvements in the management and livability of privately owned SROs in the Downtown Eastside, advocacy to promote the purchase up to 10 private SROs to both upgrade them and maintain affordability, and the target of 12,000 new social and supportive housing units in the city. From PHS’ perspective, these improvements and investments are long overdue, and can’t come soon enough.” 

Jennifer Breakspear, Executive Director, PHS Community Services Society

 

“Vancouver’s new housing strategy is a critical step to creating a more affordable city.  Vancity and the Vancouver non-profit development sector are pleased to see provisions that will accelerate the preservation and densification of existing non-market housing, incentivize more development by non-profits, and help great Vancouver neighborhoods put out the welcome mat to accommodating more residents in new, affordable, housing forms.”   

Andy Broderick, VP, Vancity Community Investment Bank and a board member at New Market Funds

 

"Catalyst is excited to see the new Housing Vancouver Strategy ready to go. As a non-profit real estate developer committed to developing, owning and operating below-market rental housing, we welcome the City’s continued commitment to the creation of strategies and policies that support the delivery of this much needed housing. At Catalyst, we partner with other community based organisations, like churches and non-profits, that have assets they wish to develop to provide affordable housing. As such, we see the City’s proposal - to develop a social purpose real estate development incentive and investment program - as a critical next step in leveraging more of these kinds of community owned assets, and create more housing that is truly affordable to regular working people in our city.”

Robert Brown, President, Catalyst Community Developments Society 

 

“As a member of the non-profit Creative Advisory Group, we advocated for a partnership approach to our shared values and objectives around housing affordability. I’m elated that the City listened and has recognized the role of non-profit organizations not only in the operation, but the delivery of new affordable housing supply.”

Genevieve Bucher, President, BC Artscape

 

“I’m excited to see the City of Vancouver taking a bold first step toward allowing new housing options across all of the city. By updating our zoning we’ll create better options for multi-generational living while treating every neighbourhood fairly. We’re also glad to hear that there will be a dramatic hiring push aimed at reducing permitting times.”

Bryn Davidson, Principal, Lanefab

 

"While in the past I have often been critical of city zoning restrictions, I applaud the city's latest housing policies, especially increased housing choices within single-family neighbourhoods. I am confident the latest City of Vancouver housing initiatives, combined with new federal funding, will result in a broad array of much-needed affordable housing."

Michael Geller, local planner, architect, and SFU adjunct professor

 

“Vancouver's livability once enticed families to forgo the suburban dream and live in the city. Unfortunately in the past few years, I have seen many families with professional salaries forced to leave due to unstable rent conditions and lack of suitable, affordable housing. The City of Vancouver's new Housing Strategy, with its focus on families and renters, and building housing to meet their needs, is a step in the right direction. It needs to be delivered quickly and I am optimistic that they can accomplish the ambitious goals of this 10-year plan.”

Jillian Glover, Founder of This City Life

 

“The escalating housing crisis in Vancouver has created a big shift in the conversation around single family house areas. Until very recently, the primary fear expressed by residents was that these neighbourhoods would change. More recently, large numbers of residents are expressing a fear that Vancouver’s single family neighbourhoods won’t change. People are starting to understand that if they want to live in lively neighbourhoods with a mix of young and old, with a variety of incomes, and that include families with kids, that widespread change needs to happen, and happen quickly, and the new Housing Vancouver strategy will help do that. The status quo alternative of streets with mostly empty nesters and with under-used schools and parks is just not OK anymore.”

Bruce Haden, Principal, Human Studio | Architecture + Urban Design

 

"The City of Vancouver's new 10-year housing strategy is exactly what is needed to help ease the affordability crisis. The creation of more affordable housing, removal of CACs from 100% rental projects, densification of single-family neighbourhoods and the hiring of 75 new City staff are just some of the key initiatives in this visionary plan. I am so impressed and optimistic that these changes will make a real difference."

Gregory Henriquez, Managing Partner, Henriquez Partners Architects

 

“Vancouver’s Housing Plan Reset recognizes the critical need to focus on housing affordability for all of Vancouver’s citizens, including people who have recently experienced or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. Working to ensure that there is a range of affordable housing in neighbourhoods throughout the City that people who experience extreme poverty can access is a step towards building more diverse, welcoming and sustainable communities.”

Catharine Hume, Co-Executive Director, RainCity Housing

 

"This is a bold plan and City staff deserve huge credit for all their hard work. Purpose-built rental housing is the "right supply" and we look forward to partnering with the City to enhance existing rental housing and to build badly needed new supply."  

David Hutniak, CEO, LandlordBC

 

"As a developer of both 100% rental projects and commercial properties, I commend the City for the new Housing Vancouver strategy, particularly the new approach on Community Amenity Contributions.  Clarity around this issue will significantly streamline the application process and help get badly needed supply to market faster; in particular rental supply. Moreover, it will bring a greater level of transparency to the rezoning process, which is positive for all stakeholders."

Beau Jarvis, Executive Vice President, Wesgroup Properties

 

“Housing Vancouver, if passed, will be one of the most comprehensive municipal housing strategies in Canada. There can be no denying that the City is showing bold leadership to ease the housing squeeze.”

Dr. Paul Kershaw, UBC Policy Professor, Founder of Generation Squeeze

 

“We are heartened by the City of Vancouver’s commitment to partnering in the development of a Regional Urban Indigenous Housing Strategy as an integral component of Housing Vancouver.  This commitment has been clear in our ongoing partnership with the City, as we work together to realize UNYA’s longstanding vision of the Native Youth Centre – a regional hub for Indigenous youth, where they will be able to access the programming, resources, and opportunities they need to reach their fullest potential.  We’re excited about the opportunity to work with the City and other levels of government on this priority project which will also create complementary affordable housing on-site to meet the critical needs of Indigenous youth and their families.”

Dena Klashinsky, Executive Director, Urban Native Youth Association

 

“Concert is very supportive of the City’s Housing Vancouver reset process and the specific objectives that have been set out in the 10 year plan. We have a number of sites in Vancouver that can be part of the solution to provide the right supply while protecting the existing affordable housing stock. We are encouraged by the City’s commitment to partner with the private sector to achieve these goals along with shortening City processes to allow the industry to get more supply to the market faster.”  

Brian McCauley, President and CEO, Concert Properties LTD.

 

“I fully support the City’s 3-Year Action Plan. This is a very important series of urban development strategies that has great promise to restore a housing balance in our town, and which should allow more opportunities for middle and lower income households to access housing that is more affordable and appropriate for their needs. Many of our neighbourhoods are depopulating and hollowing out due to pressures caused by housing being treated as a commodity, and not as a primary need of all city dwellers. As a long-time supporter of mixed income communities and vibrant urban neighbourhoods, I applaud the range of actions set out in the 3-Year Plan.”

Sean McEwen, architect and community development advocate

 

“Metro Vancouver Alliance has looked carefully at the full housing strategy and recognize that there are many elements that we can support. We welcome the proposal to have 100% new rental housing projects include 20% of units locked in at affordable rents for low and modest incomes through housing agreements. This sounds like a positive initiative and one that reflects the commitment made to the MVA membership at the 2014 Municipal Election Assembly.”

Metro Vancouver Alliance

 

“Indeed the time has come to retrofit our suburban neighbourhoods to better meet the needs of Vancouverites today. Social, economic and environmental interests all point to the need to make much better use of our land base. I’ve been an advocate for more flexibility and innovation in land use zoning and development for more than 20 years and I think this is a move in the right direction. We can increase intensity and provide commensurate amenity - including affordable housing - by unlocking the creativity of our housing developers and by providing sensible market-driven incentives.”

Michael Mortensen MCIP, RPP, Liveable City Planning Ltd 

 

“Everyone needs a roof over their head and as a city, we need to strive to make sure that there is room in Vancouver for people who want to make it their home. Increasing Vancouver’s capacity to provide more - and more affordable - housing options for people of all means and origins is essential if we are going to tackle this difficult issue. What I hope comes of this is a Vancouver that continues to understand diversity and inclusivity as strengths, but is freed to devote its energy to other challenges: the environment, public education, economic opportunity.”

Ian Ross Macdonald, Partner, Carscadden Stokes Macdonald Architects

 

“I believe that for the good of the whole city, low-density neighbourhoods are in need of transformation to allow more housing choices and more people, including renters who need long-term secure housing, to live in them. This strategy is a great start in that direction. I’m also very glad to see other measures to help renters included, such as a big increase in the targets for purpose-built rental, expansion of the rate of change policy, the moderate income rental housing pilot program, and a new tenant protection staff position.”

Karen Sawatzky, Renters’ Advocate

 

“The City of Vancouver has truly taken the issue of housing to heart with the release of its new 10-year housing strategy. They have responded to calls to encourage housing supply that meets the broader needs of the city with an emphasis on the streamlining of new rental and affordable housing. On the industry side, they are leading by increasing development fees to hire an incredible number of new staff (75) across departments to help solve our housing crisis. This implementation is going to have a huge impact.”

James Tod, Principal, JTA Development Consultants