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Creating housing options for families in Vancouver

Families are key to a growing and vibrant economy and sustainable society. Ensuring adequate housing choice is important to attract and retain families in Vancouver. 

Vancouver has seen a decline in three bedroom homes suitable for families over the last 20 years. With nearly 30% of Vancouver families living in apartments or condos, it is important to protect family housing options to allow families to grow and age in place.

On July 13, 2016, City Council took another step to increasing the supply of family homes by approving the Housing Mix Policy for Rezoning Projects. This policy raises the requirements and targets for family units in rezoning projects from 25% to 35% to ensure Vancouver’s housing stock makes room for families.

This change builds on previous City policies and plans to improve family housing in higher-density housing such as minimum family unit requirements and design guidelines.

Family Room: Housing Mix Policy for Rezoning Projects

The policy provides new requirements and targets for family units in rezoning projects for residential strata housing and secured market rental housing. Family units are defined as units that have two or more bedrooms.

How we apply the Family Room Policy

The policy applies to rezonings citywide and supersedes any existing family-unit housing mix requirements and targets that are set out in Council-approved plans or policies.

The policy does not apply to, or supersede, requirements and targets for:

  • Family units included in Council-approved official development plans (ODPs)
  • Rezoning projects where a Council-approved plan includes an intentional alternate housing mix, such as the Downtown Eastside Plan

Rezoning projects received after July 13, 2016

The policy applies to new rezoning applications received after July 13, 2016. When embarking on a new project, applicants will be expected to demonstrate early in their enquiry that their project meets the new requirements for family units.

Rezoning applications which were received prior to July 13, 2016, will follow any previous applicable family housing unit mix requirements and targets.

Policy requirements for family units

Rezoning applications that include any residential strata housing are required to include a minimum of 35% family units (units having two or more bedrooms):

  • A minimum of 10% three-bedroom units
  • A minimum of 25% two-bedroom units

Rezoning applications for secured market rental projects are required to include a minimum of 35% family units with two or more bedrooms.

Update the high-density housing for families with children guidelines

To improve affordability, flexibility, and livability of family units, Council directed staff to undertake a second phase of this project: to review and update the high-density housing for families with children guidelines. This review will include a robust consultation and engagement process with the broader public and industry stakeholders before bringing new proposed guidelines to Council.

High-density housing for families with children guidelines  (142 KB)

Family Room: Housing Mix Policy for Rezoning Projects

Housing for children and families

A presentation was given to Council on June 9, 2015, highlighting the importance of families to Vancouver’s economy and community well-being and some emerging policy directions being taken to help keep families in the city.