Vancouver council to consider new housing strategy
Aims to end street homelessness in three years, increase affordable housing
The City of Vancouver is being asked to adopt an ambitious new housing plan designed to increase the city's affordable rental housing stock and end street homelessness by 2015.
The report, called A Home for Everyone, provides a 10-year strategy for increasing housing opportunities for low and moderate income households — and lays out an action plan for ending street homelessness in three years.
Coun. Kerry Jang said it is vital Vancouver increase its supply of affordable housing. He said 52 per cent of Vancouverites are renters, yet over the last two decades only a few hundred new units have been built.
"What we're doing is trying to encourage the construction of housing across the entire range and ensure … reasonable prices so that people like you and me can actually live here," he said.
Jang said developers have refrained from building rental housing because it is less profitable.
"So we said, 'Ok, what can we do?' and [developers] said, 'Reduce the cost of building it and then we will actually build the rental stock and guarantee it as rental stock for the life of the building or 60 years," he said.
The report calls for the creation of 38,900 new housing units by 2021, including a mix of condominiums, rental housing and social housing.
By 2015, the city aims to build 14,000 new housing units, 3,650 of which will be supportive and social rental housing.
The plan will be funded through partnerships with senior governments, the non-profit sector, and the private sector, according to the report. Funding commitments are already in place for about half the 14,000 new housing units.
Jang said the strategy uses transition shelters as a stepping stone to permanent housing.
"Just as an example, the Stanley New Fountain shelter in the Downtown Eastside — this is a 40-person facility we opened up three years ago and nearly 300 people now have moved into treatment or permanent housing."
Council aims to track its success through a yearly report card. Baseline indicators will be established to measure and evaluate progress in order to reprioritize or shift focus as necessary, said the report.
The report is being submitted to city council for approval on July 26.