Vancouver approves $2-billion endowment fund for new affordable housing

Jun 22 2018, 2:34 am

Vancouver City Council has approved a new tool to help build more affordable housing in a continued effort to tackle the housing affordability and supply crisis.

Earlier today, Council gave city staff the permission to create a $2-billion affordable housing endowment fund based on the assessed value of a consolidated portfolio of city-owned land and owned or operated buildings and assets.

There are approximately 200 properties connected to this endowment fund, which will go towards the city’s Housing Vancouver initiative of building 72,000 new homes over the next 10 years, specifically the creation of 12,000 social, supportive, and co-operative housing for lower and middle-income households.

Vancouver is leading the country in building new rental housing, and today’s approval of the Vancouver Affordable Housing Endowment Fund and Financial Strategy will accelerate our efforts to create more affordable housing for people who live and work in Vancouver,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement.

“We’re dramatically ramping up the right supply of new homes for Vancouver residents, building more rental options for households with moderate incomes, creating more family-sized homes, and providing more social housing for low-income residents.”

According to a release, the endowment fund is part of a new financial strategy that has five approaches to deliver affordable, social, and supportive housing:

  • Continue to secure social housing through inclusionary housing policies
  • Acquire new housing sites to sustainably deliver future homes
  • Increase the social housing requirement on large sites from 20% to 30% (consisting of 20% social housing, and 10% moderate income rental housing for households that earn between $30,000 and $80,000)
  • Support non-profit housing societies by enabling non-profit ownership of social housing  in the Downtown Eastside, and create the Social Purpose Real Estate Program to develop incentives for non-profit housing, faith-based and other charitable organizations
  • Pursue a multi-year partnership and investment plan with senior levels of government to deploy city land for use in building affordable housing

These measures add to potential housing-related revenue sources from Community Amenity Contributions, Empty Homes Tax, and Capital Plan.

The City also has a long-held property endowment fund that spans approximately 700 properties with a current combined value of about $5.7 billion.

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