Vancouver reveals details of new affordable pilot project to help renters
Published Sunday, July 23, 2017 3:31PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, July 24, 2017 10:25AM PDT
The City of Vancouver is outlining a plan to help renters in the city, and on Saturday officials gave details about a new pilot project in the Oakridge for affordable rental housing tied to income.
Mayor Gregor Robertson said the new approach and would require 20 per cent of units in all new rental buildings in the Cambie Corridor Phase 3 Plan to be designated long-term affordable.
The new affordable units target households earning between $30,000 and $80,000 per year. The city has designated affordable as 30 per cent of household income, and Robertson said the rents for units would be directly connected to tenants' incomes.
"We need to tie our new housing supply to the incomes people make in Vancouver," Robertson said as he addressed media at a press conference. "People on very modest incomes… we want to be sure have a place here in Vancouver."
The initial project would yield 1,000 new affordable units, although officials said that if it's successful it could be expanded across the city.
Prices for the affordable units would range from $850-$1,000 for a studio, $1,250-$1,500 for a one bedroom and $1,700-$2,100 for a two bedroom, according to a city release.
Housing advocates in the city questioned how many people the initiative would actually help.
Tom Davidoff, an associate professor at the Sauder School of Business, framed the city's strategy as giving a small number of people a huge benefit, as opposed to taking proceeds from developers and distributing a smaller amount of money to more people.
"We'll have a lineup of 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 households and maybe one out of 30 of them will get lucky and get a unit they can afford," he said.
He likened the process to a lottery for families hoping to access a below-market rental apartment.
Officials did not give details about how people would qualify for a below-market rental, but Susan Haid, the city's assistant director of planning, said at the press conference would look at models that North Vancouver, Richmond and Toronto already use for income qualification.
Haid said that developers will now have two options when looking at building in Vanocuver. They can either go with a rental project where 20 per cent of units will be rented below market of choose a project where 30 per cent of units will be social housing and 70 per cent would be strata condos.
"This [affordable rental] type of housing is really matched not only to the incomes but to the people of Vancouver," she said. "We're targeting our missing middle generations, our young families and our seniors."
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Scott Roberts.