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Housing Vancouver Strategy

Our city needs to change and adapt if we are to continue to be a great place in which to live and work. As Vancouver grows, new housing should respond to our incomes, families, and lifestyles.

From our most vulnerable residents and seniors to young people and growing families, everyone who wants to live in Vancouver should have access to housing that is adequate and affordable.

We are resetting our approach to focus on creating the right types of homes to meet the needs and incomes of the people who live and work in Vancouver. 

How we are shaping the strategy

In 2016, we did extensive research, and spoke with local stakeholders and leaders, international housing experts, and the public to better understand the pressures on the current housing market and the issues local residents face.

This helped identify ways to better target housing affordability for our growing population.

From our research and analysis, these are the priorities we identified and the ideas we are exploring as part of the new Housing Vancouver strategy.

Help shape the new housing strategy

Take one of our online questionnaires until June 23, 2017.

Vancouver residents

Help us understand what keeps you in Vancouver so we can improve our efforts to create the right type of housing.

Take the questionnaire 請參與問卷調查

Residents outside Vancouver

If you used to live in Vancouver or you commute into the city for work or school, help us understand what prevents you from living in Vancouver and what the city needs for you to live here.  

Take the questionnaire

View the information boards on our strategy  (1.9 MB)

Our priorities

Create more of the right type of housing

Over the last three years, Vancouver has been creating new housing supply at a record rate. However, housing being delivered over next 10 years will not provide the kind of housing or affordability needed by our population by 2026. 

To ensure we are creating the right housing supply that people can afford, we will set new targets for housing development based on incomes and affordability to local residents. Setting targets in existing housing ensures we don’t lose affordability for people who need it today while we plan for affordability for new residents in the future. 

With the right supply, we can meet the demand for affordability and help families secure the right size housing in the right location. New housing designs will better meets the needs of Vancouver families while more rental housing near transportation hubs will help people move about easier, from home to work to play.

Who is served

  • An expanding group of households who are no longer able to access the housing market
  • Low- and middle-income renter households struggling with rising rents and a very low vacancy rate, and who want to live close to transit and services

Early actions

  • Set new targets for housing development based on affordability to local residents.
  • Expand the Rental 100 incentive program to provide more rental housing options with greater affordability.
  • Create more rental housing for individuals and families near transportation hubs, including two new rapid transit stations.
  • Explore the options for building two new rapid transit stations in central locations where large amounts of rental housing can be built.
  • Expand amenities around transit hubs to support the continued growth of emerging communities in the area.
  • Preserve and re-investing in existing rental housing.


Accommodate Vancouver’s changing communities

Neighbourhoods are changing in Vancouver. New kinds of housing will better meet the needs of Vancouver’s families, and help make neighbourhoods vibrant with affordable and innovative new housing such as rowhouses, townhomes, and duplexes. 

By updating our zoning, we can find ways to add density while still preserving the essence of those communities. 

Who is served

  • New and existing middle-income households, especially families, looking to live in lower density neighbourhoods, near parks and school

Early actions

  • Launch a public dialogue to discuss ideas on how our neighborhoods can evolve in the future.
  • Integrate diverse housing forms like rowhouses, townhouses, and duplexes into existing single-family neighborhoods.
  • Create more opportunities for rental or ownership on single- and two-family lots, like rented laneway houses or stratified coach homes. 


Ensure a healthy rental market

We are exploring new tools and incentives to bring down the cost of new rental housing and to increase availability of permanent rental homes. We are encouraging landlords to reinvest in and maintain their existing rental apartments.

We will continue to both advocate for stronger Provincial renter protections and provide assistance to renters impacted by redevelopment.

Who is served

  • Low- and middle-income renter households who will benefit from faster delivery of affordable rental housing

Early actions

  • Continue advocacy for stronger Provincial renter protections.  
  • Enhance City protections and assistance for renters impacted by redevelopment. 
  • Increase availability of secured rental homes with greater affordability.


Provide more City land to build new rental housing

As the biggest owner of land in Vancouver, we will put up another offer of empty city-owned sites onto the market. 

We will deliver more homes for Vancouver residents who need it, using our development tools to deliver it as quickly, efficiently, and affordably as possible.

Who is served

  • New and existing low- and middle-income renter households – the degree of partner investment significantly affects the range of affordability delivered

Early actions

  • Work with the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) to develop 1,000 units of affordable housing on eight city-owned sites in 2017.
  • Build an additional 3,800 new homes on six major city-owned properties.
  • Identify future land areas for innovative housing ideas like temporary modular housing.


Prioritize delivery of projects

To ensure housing affordability remains a top priority, we are looking at new ways to speed up the production of rental housing that is affordable to our residents.

Who is served

  • Low- and middle-income renter households who will benefit from faster delivery of rental housing

Early actions

  • Implement a one-year pilot program to speed up production of affordable housing. 
  • Provide faster approval times for planning and development processes.



Prevent, support, and increase pathways out of homelessness

Supporting the communuity

Prevent, support, and increase pathways out of homelessness

We have evolved our approach to addressing homelessness by strengthening our partnerships with other municipalities in the region. By integrating collective strategies, we are positioned to provide and expand our support and services, including: 

  • Preventing homelessness
  • Supporting homelessness when it does occur 
  • Creating pathways out of homelessness with strategies to ensure adequate income, housing, and health support

Who is served

  • Low-income residents struggling to secure housing


Early actions

  • Deploy the new specialized City of Vancouver Homelessness Services Team.
  • Implement the recommendations of the City of Vancouver Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Task Force through our new SRO Action Plan, to improve and transform Vancouver’s SRO housing stock while protecting residents.
  • Work with Metro Vancouver partners on a regional action plan on homelessness. 



How our strategy has evolved

Housing Reset Engagement Summary (2.14 MB)

Throughout 2016, we did intensive public engagement, research, and analysis to develop new ways to address housing affordability.

Council report

We have identified ways to both sharpen and increase our actions to better target housing affordability.

A Time for Ideas (22.36 KB)

Creative advisory group recommendations for new housing forms and innovative design.

Accelerating Non-Profit / City Partnerships (377.68 KB)

Creative advisory group recommendations to strengthen partnerships between the City and the non-profit housing sector.

Strategy background

The Housing and Homelessness Strategy, 2012-2021 laid out the overall direction for housing over 10 years.

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Sign up for information on upcoming public events and activities that will help shape the new strategy to address affordable housing in Vancouver.

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Project timeline

Here is our process and anticipated milestones.

  • Fall 2016

    Stakeholder consultation: identify beneficial housing practices

  • March 2017

    City Council adopts Housing emerging directions

  • We are here
  • Spring 2017

    Round 1 consultation: determine residents' priorities

  • Summer 2017

    Report public feedback to City Council

  • Summer –
    fall 2017

    Round 2 consultation: discuss proposed strategy

  • Fall –
    winter 2017

    Present final strategy to City Council

Strategy backgroundHousing Reset Engagement SummaryCouncil reportA Time for IdeasAccelerating Non-Profit / City Partnerships