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VAHA seeks partners to build nearly 900 new rental homes throughout Vancouver

July 24 2017 Units will provide much needed housing for singles, seniors, and families on low to moderate incomes

“Finding secure, affordable rental housing in Vancouver is a big challenge, particularly for people with low to middle incomes,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) has released a Request for Proposal (RFP) to develop nearly 900 units of new affordable rental housing on seven City-owned sites, worth approximately $79 million. VAHA will lease the land to partners to build, fund and operate these new rental developments.

With rental vacancy rates at 0.8%, one of the lowest in Canada, the City is facing a housing crisis. These sites were allocated to VAHA by City Council to enable the development of new affordable rental housing, part of the City’s strategy on addressing the housing crisis.

These new developments will offer a mix of housing to meet the needs of singles, families, and seniors earning low to moderate incomes. Rental rates for all units will target below market rates. Deeper affordability could be achieved through strategic partnerships with senior levels of government, and non-profit organizations and foundations.

Providing new affordable rental housing

 “Finding secure, affordable rental housing in Vancouver is a big challenge, particularly for people with low to middle incomes,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. "City Hall continues to explore every opportunity to build new affordable housing, and developing 900 new homes on city land for renter households earning under $80,000 is another step we’re taking to deliver housing for people who live and work in Vancouver. Offering City land for development keeps housing costs down for renters, and with investments from the BC and federal governments, we can make these 900 new homes even more affordable.”

“We’ve heard that residents want bold action on addressing the housing crisis, and this RFP puts us on the path to do just that,” says Luke Harrison, CEO, VAHA. “The door is open to any and all qualifying organizations and big ideas on how to develop these seven City-owned sites to create the most affordable rental units. We look forward to hearing from the industry and working together to reach our goals.”

Key highlights of each site

1190 Burrard Street and 937 Davie Street

  • Approximately 118 units of new affordable rental housing
  • A new purpose built facility for QMUNITY, British Columbia’s queer, trans, and Two-Spirit resource centre, in a mixed-use development in the Downtown South neighbourhood, adjacent to the West End neighbourhood

1210 Seymour Street and 560 Davie Street

  • Approximately 99 units of new affordable rental housing in a mixed-use development in the Downtown South neighbourhood.

177 W Pender Street

  • Approximately 90 units of new affordable rental housing in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.

3279-3297 Vanness Avenue

  • Approximately 69 units of new affordable rental housing in the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood, with a goal of approximately 50% family residences

1001 Kingsway

  • Approximately 43 units of new affordable rental housing in a mixed-use development in the Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighbourhood,  with a goal of approximately 50% family residences

3183 and 3245 Pierview Crescent (EFL Parcels 3 & 5A)

  • 140 units of new affordable rental housing in the East Fraserlands, River District neighbourhood, with 71% family residences.

3310 Marine Way (EFL Parcel 13)

  • Approximately 330 units of new affordable rental housing in the East Fraserlands, River District neighbourhood.

The exact number of units that will be delivered on each site is subject to development approval through the rezoning, where necessary, and development permit process.

Final confirmation of development partners and estimated projected timelines for completion of the seven sites will be announced in the first half of 2018. As part of the rezoning and development permit process, VAHA and the City will undertake community consultation for the sites.

How VAHA is providing affordable housing

Since VAHA’s creation in June 2014, several innovative steps have been taken to address the housing affordability crisis, to add permanent affordable rental housing to the market, and to develop temporary affordable rental housing units in Vancouver:

  • VAHA is currently working toward the delivery of 2,200 new affordable rental housing units on City-owned land, with 19 new housing sites currently in development.
  • VAHA opened Vancouver’s first temporary modular housing project comprised of 40 new affordable rental housing units at 220 Terminal Avenue. The project was completed in approximately nine months and has garnered financial support from CMHC and Vancity. VAHA hopes to replicate this successful model to provide additional temporary housing. 
  • A total of nine sites put forward by VAHA, including three in the East Fraserlands River District neighbourhood, are in the planning and design phases. These projects will create approximately 1,000 units of new affordable rental housing.

Learn more about the VAHA