10-year Housing Vancouver Strategy approved by City Council

Nov 30 2017, 4:19 am

A 10-year strategy and a three-year action plan to address the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver have been approved by City Council.

In a release, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson called the new strategy a “bold, forward-thinking plan.”

“[It] was directly informed by what we heard from local residents: We need urgent action now to ramp up not just the supply of housing, but the right kind of supply,” said Robertson.

Meanwhile, Gil Kelley, General Manager, Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability, said the state of housing here is jeopardizing our city’s diversity, community, and longevity.

“Our new strategy is ambitions, and will see many changes across the city,” said Kelley.

“Our three-year action plan ensures that action continues quickly to guarantee a future for the people who live and work in Vancouver.”

The action plan includes 120 commitments to action, including the following 10 priorities:

  • Increasing rental, social and ground-oriented housing across the city and increasing housing near future transit hubs and arterials
  • Address speculation and stabilize land value with a new policy to reduce overinflated values and develop regulations that limit speculative investments in housing
  • Increase rental protections and affordability for the more than 50% of households that rent by ensuring all existing rental homes remain affordable after redevelopment
  • Complete a comprehensive review of City processes for housing, rezoning and development to speed up the rezoning process
  • Support diverse ways of living by permitting non-traditional housing like collective housing, allowing six or more unrelated roommates in single-family areas
  • Provide housing for homeless residents by requesting funding to build 1,200 units of temporary modular supportive housing on sites throughout Vancouver
  • Develop a new 10-Year Affordable Housing Delivery and Financial Plan to support development of 12,000 social, supportive, and co-op homes
  • Improve livability of SRO (single room occupancy) hotels by replacing 50% with new self-contained social housing in the next 10 years, and establish a revitalization fund for SRO hotels
  • Launch the new Social Purpose Real Estate Incentive Program to support non-profits and co-ops who own their land and buildings to redevelop affordable housing.
  • Build five new Aboriginal housing developments in partnerships with Aboriginal agencies, and create a 10-year Aboriginal Housing strategy to support reconciliation.

The strategy also includes looking into banning foreign buyers of real estate in the city, although such a move would require approval from the BC government.

Approval of the strategy, which was 14 months in the making, follows the introduction of an Empty Homes Tax, and regulation of short-term rentals like Airbnb.

It also follows plans to force developers to restrict pre-sales of property to Metro Vancouver residents, possibly for the first 30 days.

And only last week, Justin Trudeau announced Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy, at a cost of $40 billion over 10 years.

Kelley said the Housing Vancouver Strategy had taken 14 months to create, with assistance from local, national and international housing experts, and 10,000 residents of Vancouver.

Robertson said the strategy would go after real estate speculation, offer more protection for renters and would transform single-family neighbourhoods across the city.

“This comprehensive approach will help us maintain Vancouver’s diversity and vibrancy, and create more affordable housing options for young people, growing families, seniors and our most vulnerable residents,” he said.

To read all the documents relating to the housing strategy vote, go here:

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