Housing and Affordabilityhttp://www.localgovernmentmatters.ca/Lists/Banners/DispForm.aspx?ID=1Housing and Affordabilityhttp://www.localgovernmentmatters.ca/PublishingImages/HousingTile.jpg, Housing

The COVID-19 pandemic has added urgency to the need to address the shortage of affordable housing in the region.

As one of the largest affordable housing providers in B.C., Metro Vancouver is in a prime position to expand the stock of quality affordable rental housing through the implementation of the Housing 10-Year Plan.

Metro Vancouver has committed $190 million over the next 10 years to add a minimum of 1,350 new and redeveloped housing units. By partnering with BC Housing, CMHC and others, we can double that amount.

Meanwhile, the region continues to experience high rates of homelessness, with too many individuals living on the streets, in temporary hotel rooms and short-term accommodations. Waitlists for social housing remain long and more low-barrier housing units are required to meet the unique needs of equity-seeking populations, including youth aging out of care, Indigenous individuals and families, seniors, people with complex health issues, and women and children fleeing violence.


Mike Hurley, Chair, Metro Vancouver Housing, speaks to housing affordability.

Questions

 

If elected, what specifically will your party do to support an expanded inventory of affordable rental housing options for the Metro Vancouver region?

  • BC NDP

    Thanks to the partnership of many local governments across the province, we have made good progress to date on our commitment to deliver 114,000 new affordable homes for people in communities of all sizes. To date, we have more than 25,000 homes complete or underway, in all categories of housing, from homes with supports for those experiencing homelessness and the first investment in new housing for women and children fleeing violence in two decades, to new indigenous housing both on- and off-reserve, new mixed-income rental housing for families and seniors with low to moderate incomes, and thousands of market rental units for middle-income families and individuals.

    But there is much more to do, and our government will again be counting on our strong partnerships with local governments to deliver the homes that all of our communities need. We look forward to working with local governments to:

    • streamline development approvals, with new provincial funding to support the efforts that many of you are already undertaking, while we act to make the provincial permit and approval process more efficient as well with a new single-window permitting process;
    • eliminate unnecessary parking minimums in new developments near transit investments, allowing for more affordable transit-oriented housing options for people to rent or buy;
    • work together to identify locations for our new Complex Care housing sites, which will bring an increased level of psychiatric and nursing care to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities who need even more clinical supports than are provided in supportive housing, and
    • continue to support bringing new rental developments to market, whether they are the next set of publicly-funded social housing projects, or tens of thousands of new market rental options for the middle-class delivered through the additional low-cost loans we will provide through our HousingHub program.

    We also plan to expand the role of the innovative HousingHub team to partner with non-profit and co-op housing providers to acquire and preserve existing rental housing. We’ll also instruct the Housing Hub to look for new pathways to home ownership through rent- to-own or other equity-building programs.


Will your party commit to co-investment with Metro Vancouver on its Housing 10-Year Plan?

  • BC NDP

    Our 10-year housing plan, Homes for BC, is our plan for delivering 114,000 affordable homes across the province, including in Metro Vancouver. More than 25,000 homes are currently underway or complete, and many of the funding streams that are part of this housing strategy, like the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, or the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund, are already funding projects in Metro Vancouver.

    A number of these Building BC funding streams provide opportunities for partnership with local governments. A re-elected BC NDP government would be pleased to look at how we can partner with Metro Vancouver, and with individual local governments in the region, through these various funding programs so that together we can deliver the kinds of homes that people in the region need.


What actions will your government take to secure additional low-barrier housing units for equity seeking homeless populations?

  • BC NDP

    Under the BC Liberals, homelessness tripled. Since 2017, we have been focused on working with local governments, including many in Metro Vancouver, to address the challenge. Together, we have made real progress. Across the province we have opened more than 2,800 homes with supports – these homes are changing lives, and giving people new opportunities.

    We know that more is still needed. We are committed to continuing to work in partnership to build supportive housing, and over our 10 year plan, we will complete a total of 5,000 homes with supports in communities across the province. As well, we will build new Complex Care facilities designed to meet the housing and support needs of those with significant mental illness and/or complex physical health and addiction issues, including brain injuries, who need housing with increased on-site psychiatric and nursing care. We will work with local governments to determine where these are needed, and what the opportunities are to use public land, like the Riverview lands, as locations. In addition, we will fund 2,000 new rent supplements over our first two years to help people who have stabilized in supportive housing move into private-market rental homes, helping them to take the next step and creating additional space in supportive housing for those who need the presence of those on-site supports to succeed.