City quadruples housing targets for purpose-built rental homes

July 25, 2017 (Vancouver, BC) To address Vancouver’s ongoing housing crisis, at Council today the City of Vancouver announced its intention to enable 72,000 new homes in Vancouver over the next ten years, which will exceed the City’s previous ten-year housing strategy by approximately 85 per cent.

This increase in supply is to enable a significant delivery of new social, supportive, and rental housing for people who live and work in Vancouver. Council will vote on the final approval of new housing targets in November.

In March, the City shared that although housing supply has been created at record rates in Vancouver, there is still a significant need for new housing to meet the needs and incomes of Vancouver residents. To address this, the City has set interim targets to help enable 72,000 new homes across the city to provide residents with the housing they need, and can afford – now and into the future: 

  • Just under 48,000 of these new homes will be rentals
  • Nearly 29,000 of these new homes will be for families
  • Over 12,000 of these homes will provide social and supportive housing for lower income residents – doubling of the City’s existing target for lower income households

“The City has a plan to deliver 72,000 homes – the biggest affordable housing boom in Vancouver history,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “These 72,000 homes are for people who live and work in Vancouver. We’re going above and beyond what’s ever been done in Vancouver to enable new affordable housing for local residents matched to realistic, local incomes – housing that people want: rentals, laneway homes, coach houses, duplexes and townhomes in neighbourhoods across the city. Nothing is off the table as the City aggressively pushes forward in delivering as much affordable housing as possible to keep Vancouver liveable now and into the future.”

To establish these interim targets, the City assessed population growth, incomes, and housing requirements to determine the housing that Vancouver residents need right now, and ten years from now to maintain Vancouver’s diverse population.

This unique way of setting targets connects housing supply targets directly to incomes to ensure that new homes are affordable and adequate for our residents. The targets aim to create the homes that we know are needed in order to maintain Vancouver’s diverse population.

“From our public consultation with Vancouver residents, it’s clear that housing affordability remains a top concern, and we want to help residents be secure with the right housing they need,” says Gil Kelley, General Manager, Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability. “As over 50 per cent of Vancouver’s population is comprised of renters, we are focussed on enabling more rental housing for families, young workers, seniors, and the city’s most vulnerable residents. Our new interim targets will see nearly 48,000 rental units over the next decade.”

To create more of the right housing that is affordable to residents in Vancouver, the City will increase its target for purpose built rental housing to four times the current target – up to 20,000 additional homes over the next ten years. Nearly three-quarters of these homes will serve households earning less than $80,000 a year. 

In addition, 6,800 new social and supportive homes will be targeted at residents with an annual income of less than $30,000.

To achieve these targets the City has already taken action with new programs and policies. These actions include:

  • Cambie Corridor Phase 3 will enable 4,200 homes over the next ten years, comprised of rental housing, townhomes and condominiums. 1,000 of these units will be slated for below-market rental or social housing.
  • Changes to Character Home (RS) zoning will provide opportunities for additional homes like duplexes, coach homes, laneway and other infill options in residential neighbourhoods across the city. Approximately 12,000 single-family homes will be permitted to stratify multiple housing units on their property.
  • New RT zoning regulations in Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland will allow for more secondary suites and up to three homes on one property.
  • Approximately 1,600 additional housing units are anticipated for the False Creek Flats and Joyce-Collingwood neighbourhoods.
  • The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) released an RFP this week that will seek partners to build, fund and operate nearly 900 units of new affordable rental housing on seven City-owned sites, worth approximately $79 million.

The City will focus on ensuring security and stability for renters by enabling affordable rental housing with the following actions:

  • Enabling/planning for new 100 per cent rental buildings with a minimum of 20 per cent of units priced below-market for renters earning $30,000 - $80,000 a year. This approach is being piloted in the Oakridge Municipal Town Centre as part of the Cambie Corridor Phase III Planning Process, and staff will be exploring developing a broader pilot city-wide in the fall.
  • Prioritizing approval process of affordable housing by reducing processing and approval times in half for buildings designated to provide affordable housing. Over 20 projects are anticipated to be approved in the next two years, which will provide 800 units in 2018 and 900 units in 2019.
  • Prioritizing retention and renewal of the City’s 90,000 existing rental homes in the city with 57,000 permanent rentals, and 22,800 non-market rentals.
  • Proposed short-term rental regulations could bring 1000 long-term rental units back to market in 2018. 
  • The Empty Homes Tax will provide more rental housing by imposing a 1 per cent tax on empty or underused housing.
  • Review of current zoning and development bylaws will support shared living arrangements while ensuring safety and livability standards.

In addition, the City anticipates 10,000 ground-oriented units, including townhomes, laneways, and stratified coach houses, as well as 30,000 new condos providing opportunities for ownership over the next ten years.

Tomorrow, Council will consider changes to Vancouver’s City-wide Development Cost Levy program. These changes align with Council priorities and ensure the delivery of important public amenities associated with growth. Over the next ten years, it is estimated that DCL contributions from the development could generate a billion dollars in revenue, with half going to new affordable housing and childcare projects in the City of Vancouver.

Building on today’s housing update, staff will present an update to Council on the City’s actions to address housing for the City’s most vulnerable populations, including an update on homelessness response, and affordable housing for lower income residents.

The City will hold further consultation with the public this fall to review the targets and anticipated actions to meet those targets. This consultation will help form the final Housing Vancouver strategy which will be brought to Council in the late fall. Visit vancouver.ca/housing to learn more.

Background:

On March 28, 2017, City staff presented City Council with the proposed new housing priorities. The full council report Vancouver Housing and Homelessness Strategy Reset – Housing Vancouver Emerging Directions can be found here: http://council.vancouver.ca/20170328/documents/rr1.pdf

In May and June of 2017, the City engaged with over 10,000 residents to gain feedback on the proposed priorities for the new Housing Vancouver strategy. A majority of respondents agreed that focusing on creating the ‘right supply’ of housing, ensuring security and stability for renters, and supporting people who are homeless, would make a positive impact for themselves, their families, and people in the city of Vancouver. A summary of the Public Consultation can be found here: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/housing-vancouver-july-2017-engagement-summary.pdf