New Affordable Housing Agency to address need for new homes, says Mayor

The City is set to launch the new Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency this week, with a report coming to City Council to establish a new agency that will deliver 2,500 new units of affordable housing over six years. It is based on a recommendation from Mayor Robertson's Affordable Housing Task Force.

"The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency is our next step in creating new affordable homes for local residents in Vancouver," said Mayor Gregor Robertson. "We need to be providing a range of housing for different incomes - not just welfare rates, but low and middle-incomes as well.

"We can't just let the market decide. The City needs to be a leader in creating the affordable housing our residents deserve, especially when there is such a shortage of affordable homes in Vancouver. The VAHA will help make that happen, and I urge all of City Council to support it this Tuesday."

The Agency will prioritize the delivery of 2500 affordable housing units to individuals and families of low and moderate income, living and working in Vancouver, with 500 units in the first three years. The VAHA will be a central point of contact at the City for new affordable housing projects, will be able to leverage City land to deliver new housing, and focus on gaps in Vancouver's housing market that are not currently being met, such as family housing that includes 3-bedroom options.

The Board of Directors and the VAHA business plan will be approved by Council. City housing authorities currently exist in cities like Whistler, San Francisco, New York and in the UK.

The new Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency is the latest measure Mayor Robertson and City Council have taken to support affordable housing, including:

  • 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
  • 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 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 full report, please click here:

http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20140708/documents/rr2.pdf