In what has been deemed the largest housing investment in BC history, the provincial government says it will be spending $500 million to help alleviate the province’s growing housing crisis.
The provincial government says it will partner with municipal governments, non-profit societies, community organizations, the private sector, and other government agencies to construct or acquire 2,900 affordable rental units over the immediate short-term.
The plan is to identify and approve all of the housing projects no later than March 2017, just weeks before the provincial election, and require that all projects be built between the next 24 and 36 months. The new housing stock will be developed for a mix of diverse needs, such as low-to-moderate income renters, seniors, youth, and students.
In addition to new-builds, some of the funding will also go towards acquiring existing market units already constructed by the private sector.
“We are taking meaningful steps to address housing affordability challenges in B.C.,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing, in a statement.
“The purchase of existing units from the private market helps provide an immediate housing solution while the construction of new housing will ensure that the developments are predesigned to meet the specific needs of individuals and families.”
This is in addition to a $355-million investment by the provincial government this past spring to create 2,000 additional units of affordable rental housing.
The provincial government will likely work with the City of Vancouver on its new housing initiative as it offered $250-million worth in City-owned land earlier this year to the federal government to construct 3,500 units of social and affordable housing.