Today, head planner Gil Kelley updated Council on the Character Homes Review, the first of several updates and policies under the City’s Housing Reset. Over the past several months during this consultation I’ve heard overwhelmingly that affordability is the top concern for renters and home owners alike, and that people want to see more housing that meets their needs in our low and moderate density neighbourhoods.
Vancouver’s housing and affordability crisis is touching all incomes and neighbourhoods. Our single family home neighbourhoods – Kerrisdale, Dunbar, Arbutus – are changing, losing almost 2000 people since 2011. Young people are feeling squeezed out. As City Council and staff consider how to create many more homes in our low and moderate density neighbourhoods, we need to make sure they’re changing for the people who need them, and keep our neighbourhoods vibrant with character and filled with people.
Gil Kelley’s report outlines important next steps to advance the conversation for more affordability and a mix of housing types that fit within our single family home neighbourhoods. Instead of downzoning to encourage smaller single family homes, we need to be looking at incentives to maintain character homes and creating significant new housing like townhomes, row houses, duplexes and infill that will give people more options, while respecting the character of our neighbourhoods. Gil will be reporting back in April on next steps with incentives for both maintaining character homes and adding new and diverse options for housing across the city with affordability top of mind.
In the coming months, staff will be rolling out the full Housing Reset that will have both immediate actions for affordable housing and a long-term plan to guide our housing strategy. In this affordability crisis, all options are on the table to keep Vancouver liveable and affordable now and for the future.
-Mayor Gregor Robertson