City strengthens social housing by-law, requires affordability target

Following a public hearing last night, the City of Vancouver’s by-law for social housing now includes legal requirements for affordability of the units, strengthening the protection of low-income housing in Vancouver.

“By putting firm affordability requirements in place, Council is making sure that more social housing is going towards people on low incomes,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “These changes reflect what we heard from hundreds of workshops and community consultations during the development of a new Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Plan. This is a significant step and one that adds to our work to build and protect affordable housing in Vancouver.”

These changes to the Downtown Official Development Plan (DODP) by-law complete the overall framework for social housing across the downtown. The amended by-law is the final step in enabling more social housing in the Downtown Eastside for low income residents with by-laws now requiring that 30% of the units rent at the shelter component for income assistance. Social housing outside of the Downtown Eastside is required to have at least 30% of units renting to households with incomes below housing income limits as set by BC Housing.

This change builds on other steps the City has taken to create and protect low-income housing in Vancouver, including the 2015 Capital Budget investing a record $61 million into affordable housing, and the creation of a ‘rental only’ zone in the Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District, to reduce real estate speculation and the loss of low-income housing.