City of Vancouver New Housing Announcement

November 22, 2017

The City of Vancouver is expected to unveil its 10-year housing strategy shortly, following a major local announcement on the same issue coming from the federal government on Wednesday.

The federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos, is scheduled to make a major housing policy announcement Wednesday morning in Vancouver.

It will be a joint event, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appearing in Toronto while Duclos is in Vancouver, the two cities facing the country’s most acute housing challenges.

CBC reported Tuesday that the national housing strategy set to be outlined Wednesday will include plans for the creation of up to 100,000 new affordable housing units across the country over 10 years.

Meanwhile, the City of Vancouver has already announced its own target of 72,000 new homes for renters, families, and vulnerable residents over the next decade.

Those previously announced housing targets are part of the city’s 10-year plan, which is set to be unveiled in full before next Tuesday’s council meeting, where it will be discussed.

The comprehensive housing strategy is expected to touch on everything from permit approvals and real estate speculation, to single-room occupancy hotels and temporary modular housing to combat homelessness. The plan will also attempt to increase the stock of rental housing in a city with a critically low vacancy rate.

The city began stakeholder consultation on the housing plan in fall 2016, and earlier this year introduced some changes meant to increase housing options for renters earning medium-level incomes. Those changes included opening up neighbourhoods dominated by single-family houses to different housing options including more laneway houses and duplexes. Some housing activists and academics said while the measures were a step in the right direction, the city needed to go farther in the density allowed in single-family areas, pushing to open up vast swaths of residential land for denser options like townhouses, duplexes, condos and apartment buildings.

How far the city will go in transforming those neighbourhoods currently zoned single-family — estimated to make up as much as 80 per cent of Vancouver’s residential land — will be, for many observers, one of the most keenly anticipated pieces in the final housing plan.