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Canada's new National Housing Strategy an opportunity to address housing crisis

November 22 2016 Submission ‎outlines new federal approaches to homelessness, rental shortage

“Every Canadian should have the right to safe and affordable housing, a principle championed in the City’s submission to the National Housing Strategy,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Family laughing with mom and two children

We are urging the federal government to embrace bold new approaches for delivering affordable housing in Canada as part of a submission for a new National Housing Strategy.

Submitted to Let’s Talk Housing, the federal government’s National Housing Strategy consultation, our submission‎ ‎includes a comprehensive set of recommendations that urges the federal government’s immediate action and investment to support cities and private, non-profit, and government partnerships in tackling the housing crisis, covering homelessness and tent cities to rental and co-op housing to affordable home ownership.

“Every Canadian should have the right to safe and affordable housing, a principle championed in the City’s submission to the National Housing Strategy,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Cities are at the forefront of dealing with the housing crisis in Canada. Vancouver is pursuing all tools available to ease the pressure on our residents, but we can’t do it alone: we need the support of the federal government. After a decade of disinvestment in housing, the federal government’s new National Housing Strategy is a rare and meaningful opportunity to shape Canada’s housing policy to be equitable, effective, and impactful.”

Highlights of our recommendations to the National Housing Strategy

  • Make a new long-term commitment to federal investment, subsidies, and grants to support new social housing construction
  • Dedicate $12.6 billion for housing from the Social Infrastructure Fund
  • Support a rights-based framework for housing that includes residential tenancy law and puts the right to safe and affordable housing front and centre
  • Develop a portfolio approach for urban Aboriginal housing needs
  • Update rent and income supplements to reflect market rents
  • Provide immediate funds to support cities and urban regions dealing with homeless encampments
  • Create a more transparent and direct flow of affordable housing funds from the federal government to municipalities and regions

Our submission to Let’s Talk Housing was also informed by Re:Address, the international housing summit we hosted on October 24-29, 2016.

Read our full submission to Let’s Talk Housing PDF file (7 MB)

How we support affordable housing

We have offered 20 sites of land worth $250 million to the provincial and federal governments to build affordable housing in Vancouver, in addition to:

  • Pursuing an Empty Homes Tax to bring some of the 10,800 long-term empty homes back into the rental market
  • Providing four sites of City-owned land to enable Vancouver’s first Community Land Trust
  • Regulating short-term rentals to protect long-term rental supply
  • Increasing the family housing requirement in new condo buildings to 35% (up from 25%)
  • Pursuing temporary modular housing on City-owned sites for affordable housing
  • Increasing low-rise townhomes and stacked rowhouses through the Cambie Corridor Plan and Marpole Community Plans
  • Approving an Affordable Home Ownership pilot program, the first of its kind in Vancouver
  • Expanding opportunities for laneway homes into all residential neighborhoods across the city