Vancouver City Council today approved an affordable housing and homelessness plan that outlines strategies to end street homelessness by 2015 and increase affordable housing choices for all Vancouverites.
The 10-year plan covers a range of housing options, from social housing and rental apartments to affordable home ownership.
The plan expands on the City’s past focus on homelessness by looking at actions that can be taken to improve affordable housing options for all citizens of Vancouver, including affordable rental and home ownership opportunities.
It is the first such detailed housing plan since the City’s Homeless Action Plan was approved in 2005.
“With this strategy in place, the City can align its policies, programs and investments over the long-term to help foster and enable new affordable housing,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Affordability is a major challenge in our city – it impacts our local economy, our transportation system and our quality of life.
“It’s critical that we have a plan in place that both focuses on what the City can do, and identifies where we need to partner with other organizations to accomplish our goals.”
The overall target is for 38,900 new housing units over 10 years, comprised of a mix of social housing (7,900 units), market rental (11,000 units), and affordable home ownership (20,000 units). Many of the targets will be achieved through partnerships with community groups, provincial and federal ministries, and non-profit and for-profit partners. Strategies to achieve these targets include:
• Through the proposed 2012-2014 capital plan, the City would contribute $42.4 million in land and capital grants to enable 1,150 new units of non-market housing;
• Expanding the zones and housing types that allow for secondary suites and laneway housing to be built;
• Expanding shelter services for underserved homeless groups like youth, women and urban aboriginals;
• Creating a rent bank in conjunction with other partners, to prevent evictions due to short-term financial crisis; and,
• Integrating the delivery of affordable housing units into community and City-wide plans, similar to the Cambie Corridor Plan.
The report has been in the works for over a year and included extensive consultations with housing stakeholders, as well as a multi-pronged consultation this spring entitled Talk Housing With Us, that included an online ideas forum, renter’s roundtable, un-conference and community dialogues on co-op and live-work housing.
An annual Housing and Homelessness Strategy report card will be presented to Council to track progress towards achieving the strategy goals. City staff will be providing updates on the different housing strategies starting this fall.
Source: www.vancouver.ca, July 28, 2011