For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 17th, 2011
Speaking outside of City Hall today, COPE City Council candidates Tim Louis, RJ Aquino and Ellen Woodsworth elaborated on their plans to create a Vancouver Housing Authority to combat the housing affordability crisis threatening all but the wealthiest in this city.
“The Vancouver Housing Authority would be an at arms-length organization charged with taking an aggressive lead on home creation and coming up with achievable plans to make that happen,” said Louis.
These plans include directly building and maintaining affordable housing separate from market developments and supporting non-profit developers to buy and sell units at the cost of construction. The authority would also apply housing covenants to certain units. This will ensure that said units could only be resold at a predetermined rate thus limiting speculation and making homes more affordable.
“COPE is committed to ensuring that home ownership becomes a reality for Vancouverites. COPE’s proposals help to preserve the benefits of equity and housing security, while maintaining affordability into the future,” said Louis.
“COPE is proposing that the authority be governed by a board of directors composed of one-part city councilors and the mayor, one-part residents, and one-part community organizations,” added Louis. “We are also calling on both the provincial and federal governments to work with us to provide the funding necessary for this vital project.”
The authority would also be charged with creating a greater stock of affordable rental housing, by overseeing meaningful implementation of inclusionary zoning regulations – every new development above six stories would include at least 20% affordable rental units.
“Market developments also need to be part of the solution,” said Aquino. “Inclusionary zoning builds affordability into every new development, and creates diverse, sustainable and interesting communities. We can’t keep letting developers use by-law loop holes that allow them to pay their way out of this responsibility.”
“Housing affordability is a problem that Vancouverites are facing every single day. Young families, immigrants, low income residents, seniors, students and immigrants are being forced out of the city because it’s just too expensive,” added Woodsworth. “COPE has a concrete plan to make sure that we create a Vancouver where everyone can afford to live.”