Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Metro Vancouver looking to partner with municipalities to build affordable housing

Metro Vancouver Housing - Sutton Place. Image source: Metro Vancouver Regional District

BC Housing —the provincial government— in association with its non-profit partners are responsible for providing a significant portion of the affordable housing stock in our region. This includes housing such as emergency shelters, supportive housing, and social housing for low-income seniors and families, as well as rental assistance for private marketing housing.

The federal government plays a role in making private home ownership attainable. It is now also getting back into funding other types of affordable housing options via the National Housing Strategy.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District also provides affordable housing to 9,400 people in 3,400 units in our region. Unit rents are either rent-geared-to-income where people pay a percentage of their income, or low-end priced market rent. As I posted about in September, the regional district was looking to expand its number of affordable rental units by at least 500 over the next decade in partnership with municipalities in the region.

To accomplish this, the regional district was looking to increase its housing budget by $4 million per year. This was recently approved, and the district has now started the process of building more affordable housing units.

The regional district is looking to build or renew at least 850 unit on its current sites, and to build 500 new units in other locations throughout our region. Currently, the regional district’s housing stock is concentrated north of the Fraser; there is no regional district housing in Langley.

Over the first quarter of this year, the regional district will be reaching out to municipalities in Metro Vancouver to see if they are willing to partner. What the regional district is looking for is land that can be leased or sold to the regional district for a nominal fee (ie: a dollar).

Based on the responses received from municipalities, the regional district will pick sites based on the following:

Development potential: the total number of units that can be achieved and site and development readiness

Tenant livability: convenient access to community amenities and transit

Financial feasibility: agreements that support Metro Vancouver Housing’s financial and operational models

Regional equity: consideration of existing distribution of Metro Vancouver Housing throughout the region

Municipal actions: actions to support the development of affordable housing (e.g., expedited approvals processes, parking reduction, fee waivers, grants, density bonusing)

I will certainly be supportive of partnering with Metro Vancouver in Langley City to build more affordable housing. I hope that we can get more Metro Vancouver funding affordable housing in the south of Fraser and Langley as there is currently a gap.

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