City Approves New Social Housing in Oakridge

Mayor Gregor Robertson and Council have approved a new social housing project in Oakridge that will bring 46 new affordable rental homes targeted toward seniors to the neighbourhood. The social housing, approved at public hearing last night, will be owned by the Oakridge Lutheran Church and Catalyst Community Development Society. The building replaces the existing one-storey church and delivers 15 studio, 15 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom homes.

“This project initiated by Oakridge Lutheran Church and Catalyst is an innovative approach to delivering affordable social housing, keeping seniors within their community, close to amenities and transit,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We’ll continue doing everything we can at City Hall to support creative projects like this one that support seniors by delivering high quality, accessible and affordable housing.”

In the new building, 35% of the homes are for families, and 33% affordable homes will be rented at or below rents under the BC Housing Income Limits levels ($49,500/year for a two-bedroom home).

A Housing Agreement will lock in affordable rents and all homes as social housing for 60 years or the life of the building, whichever is greater. The project has also applied for a Housing Infrastructure Grant to deepen affordability for residents by lowering rents to a level eligible for supplements, such as the Shelter Aid For Elderly Residents (SAFER) program.

These new affordable rental homes follow on other steps the City is taking to address affordability, including:

  • Implementing a tax on empty homes;
  • Directing staff to work with AirBNB and other listing services to collect data on the frequency and volume of short-term rental housing;
  • Pursuing modular housing on city-owned sites for temporary affordable housing;
  • Offering 20 sites of City-owned land worth $250 Million to senior governments to use for affordable housing;
  • Calling for both a speculation tax and a luxury sales tax to create a more level playing field in the housing market;
  • Increasing family unit requirements in new housing projects;
  • Providing four City land sites to enable Vancouver’s first Community Land Trust