Langley City Election 2018 - October 20th

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Affordable Housing: What can municipalities really do?

Why isn’t Langley City providing more affordable housing in the community?

This is a question that I hear people ask from time-to-time. While municipalities have a role to play in supporting affordable housing, the provincial government through BC Housing and federal government have the authority and resources to ensure that affordable housing options are available for all Canadians.

There are different types of housing required for people depending on their needs. This is referred to as the Housing Continuum which goes from emergency shelters to home ownership. The following graphic from BC Housing shows the Housing Continuum including the number of households using government-assisted housing in 2015-16.

Housing continuum diagram which also shows BC Housing's annual contribution across the housing spectrum.

The tools available to municipalities to support affordable housing outside of the City of Vancouver include:

  • Providing city-owned land if available.
  • Supporting rezoning for all housing options along the continuum.
  • Providing property tax exemptions for some affordable housing projects.
  • Reducing Developer Cost Charges for affordable housing projects.
  • Providing zoning that supports a variety of housing types and sizes.
  • Allowing “bonus density” which enables a developer to build more units of housing than otherwise permitted in a zone if the developer agrees to build or provide funding for a certain number of affordable housing units.
  • Requiring “inclusionary zoning” where a developer must build or provide funding for a certain number of affordable housing units as part of a rezoning application in combination with “housing agreements” to ensure that the units remain affordable over time.

Referring back to the housing continuum graphic, how can each order of government support affordable housing?

Emergency Shelter & Housing for the Homeless
Provincial and federal government provide funding to build or expand shelters, plus provide on-going operating support usually in partnership with a non-profit organization. Municipalities provide zoning approval for shelters, property tax exemption, reduced developer cost charges, plus could provide land if available.

Transitional Supportive & Assisted Living
Provincial and federal government provide funding to build or expand facilities, plus provide on-going operating support usually in partnership with a non-profit organization. Municipalities provide zoning approval for facilities, property tax exemption, reduced developer cost charges, plus could provide land if available.

Independent Social Housing
Provincial and federal government provide funding to build or expand housing, plus provide on-going operating support usually in partnership with a non-profit organization or co-op. Municipalities provide zoning approval for housing, property tax exemption, reduced developer cost charges, plus could provide land if available.

Rental Assistance in the Private Market
Provincial government provides on-going assistance to households and individuals.

Private Market Rentals and Homeownerships
Municipalities use bonus density and inclusionary zoning to build affordable housing units, plus have zoning that supports various housing types and sizes.

While municipalities have tools to support affordable housing for people with moderate to higher incomes, the provincial and federal governments have the resources and the mandate to provide affordable housing for people no matter their income or health needs.

No comments: