Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is asking the federal government for half a billion dollars to build social housing on $250-million worth of city-owned land — most of it vacant.

Robertson is in Ottawa later this week along with mayors from about 20 other Canadian cities to meet federal cabinet ministers ahead of the upcoming federal budget.

According to his office, Robertson is attempting to persuade the Trudeau government to commit $500 million over five years to build social housing on 20 city properties.

The B.C. government would also be asked to commit cash to the projects. The plan would create up to 3,500 affordable housing units, a spokesman for the mayor confirmed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was recently elected on a promise to kick start the Canadian economy by spending up to $60 billion over the next ten years on infrastructure projects.

More recently Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi has said the government is looking for projects that are ready to go and has asked cities and provinces to finalize their lists of priority projects so they can be quickly reviewed and approved.