Motion passed that could allow modular housing for homeless in single-family zones

Sep 12 2019, 10:09 am

Vancouver City Council has passed a motion that will allow city staff to consider placing modular housing in areas zoned single-family and multi-family residential.

Specifically, the housing would be placed on parcels of private and city-owned land that are ideally near public transit and other supporting services.

The motion was first introduced by City Councillor Christine Boyle and passed by City Council at Wednesday night’s meeting.

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Although there’s a need for temporary modular housing for the homeless, said projects are only permitted on comprehensive development zoning. Councillor Boyle argues that Vancouver’s current zoning by-laws place large restrictions on where modular housing can be built.

“Under current Vancouver zoning by-laws, the land options for the provision of modular housing is extremely limited, and is quickly diminishing, as the need for additional temporary modular housing and the relocation of current temporary modular housing becomes necessary,” wrote Boyle.

“Amending Vancouver’s zoning by-laws to permit modular housing on RS and RT zones would provide the necessary options to meet the growing demand for modular housing and will significantly impact the unprecedented levels of homeless in the city of Vancouver.”

The motion passed will also allow staff to explore building family-sized modular homes in future developments.

“The current limitation of modular housing being solely single occupancy units has the unintentional impacts of prioritizing individuals while excluding low-income families, mothers and youth,” she says. “There is a significant need to expand modular housing to include family-sized units, to meet the needs of these residents of our city.”

City staff will also be looking into the possibility of purchasing RS and RT properties to use for modular housing, as well as permanent rental and non-market housing options in the future.

with files from Kenneth Chan