New Vancouver housing targets to be based on residents' income

Mar 23 2017, 10:46 pm

The City of Vancouver has announced more plans to tackle the affordability crisis in the city, including targets based on how much residents earn.

In a release, Mayor Gregor Robertson said he’s been “hearing loud and clear” that he needs to make big moves to deal with Vancouver’s lack of affordable housing now.

“We don’t just need more supply, we need the right supply – a housing mix that includes more townhomes, rowhomes and duplexes in low and moderate density neighbourhoods to meet the needs of local residents and incomes,” said Robertson.

As such, the City has announced, the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) will use an extra eight City-owned sites to develop 1,000 units of affordable housing this year.

The City also plans to launch a one-year pilot program to speed up the creation of affordable housing, by prioritizing the affordable housing planning and development processes.

Targets based on earnings

The City has also announced various targets for affordable housing based the income of Vancouver residents and how much they can actually afford.

According to the release, the City projects 47,800 new homes will be built across Vancouver over the next 10 years, and almost half-26,800 units-will be rental housing.

However, reads the release, single people earning less than $50,000 a year will only be able to afford 2,600 of those homes, while demand shows 9,000 homes are what is needed.

“Vancouver needs three times the supply currently projected for these residents, many of whom are young workers and students,” reads the release.

According to the release, families who rent and earn less than $80,000 also face a severe housing gap, with 4,250 homes projected over 10 years, against demand of 8,400 homes.

“The City will work to expand and secure more rental housing options and deepen the level of affordability being provided in new rental housing supply,” reads the release. “Creative partnerships will be sought to make this happen.”

The City says it plans to keep trying to provide families and young people withe chance to own their own home, but it estimate a gap of 9,700 family units on that front.

Rental 100 program to be expanded

Priorities in creating more housing supply will be as follows:

  • Expanding rental housing at transit hubs, corridors and near arterials
  • Creating new developments with increased density at rapid transit stations
  • Two new rapid transit station area plans are to be launched in 2017
  • Expanding the existing Rental 100 program, which encourages developments where 100% of the residential units are rentals
  • Considering new intensified housing forms along arterials to create a transition to lower density neighbourhoods
  • Changing the Interim Rezoning Policy (IRP) to improve affordability and effectiveness
  • Reviewing regulatory options, including density bonusing and other zoning tools

The proposals are part of the City’s Vancouver Housing and Homelessness Strategy Reset. 

City staff will present a report on the reset, titled Housing Vancouver Emerging Directions, containing next steps and long-term actions to City Council on Tuesday.

The public will also be consulted on Housing Vancouver Emerging Directions, and staff will report back to Council in July with the final strategy proposal.

“In this affordability crisis, all options are on the table to keep Vancouver liveable now and into the future,” said Robertson.