City Takes Next Steps to ‘Reset’ Vancouver Housing Supply and Affordability

March 29, 2017 (Vancouver, BC) – Council has approved the emerging directions for the City’s Housing Reset, a new approach to delivering housing affordability for local residents now and into the future.

“With Vancouver’s housing and affordability crisis impacting almost all people and neighbourhoods, it’s a critical time to boldly reset our approach to creating housing,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We need big moves to get the right supply of housing that meets peoples’ needs and incomes:  a housing mix that includes more rental housing, townhomes, row houses and duplexes in low and moderate density neighbourhoods. All options are on the table to keep Vancouver liveable, inclusive and affordable now and for many years to come.”

City staff will action four key priority areas to deliver immediate affordability:

  • Set affordability targets by income range, instead of type of housing supply.
  • Densify along transit-oriented hubs, corridors and arterials to boost rental housing, including two new rapid transit station area plans in 2017 and opportunities under Cambie Corridor Phase 3.
  • Update zoning in Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland to increase housing opportunities with duplexes, townhouses and row homes for families.
  • Offer more City-owned land to build affordable housing, with eight more VAHA sites (approx. 1000 homes) and 6 other city properties (approx. 900 homes)
  • A new, one-year pilot program that prioritizes affordable housing and expedites production.

Staff are also looking at longer-term options to improve affordability and will report back in July on:

  • Expanding the City’s rental 100 program, considering location criteria and type of supply
  • Reviewing the Interim Rezoning Policy to improve affordability outcomes along arterials
  • Ongoing work through the Character Home Review to explore opportunities for more townhouses, rowhomes and duplexes in single family home neighbourhoods
  • More opportunities for innovation on City land, including more land trusts

The Housing Reset’s emerging directions will go to public consultation over the coming months, and will inform the final housing strategy being reported back to Council in July.

Last year, Mayor Robertson and Council took a number of steps to tackle Vancouver’s housing crisis, including:

  • Investing $80M in the 2017 Capital Plan for affordable housing - the most ever;
  • Approving a record number of new rental homes;
  • Bringing in Canada’s first Empty Homes Tax;
  • Regulating short-term rentals, like Airbnb;
  • Pursuing modular housing on city-owned sites;
  • Offering 20 sites of City-owned land worth $250 Million to senior governments to use for affordable housing;
  • Increasing family home requirements in new housing projects to 35%; and
  • Providing four City-owned sites to enable Vancouver’s first Community Land Trust.