COPE Says New Housing Strategy must be StrengthenedFor Immediate Release: July 26, 2011

COPE City Councillors Ellen Woodsworth and David Cadman believe key parts of Vancouver’s new 10 year Housing and Homelessness Strategy need to be strengthened in order to truly tackle the city’s affordability crisis.

“This report represents a good first step,” said Woodsworth, but she insisted that key initiatives to drive affordability aren’t present in the report. “Working class families, seniors, and young people just can’t afford to live in Vancouver any more. Where’s the discussion around policies and measures to find solutions for them?”

Cadman and Woodsworth called for specific changes to the report that would address these deficits. “If this is going to be an aggressive plan to return real affordability to our city, we need to know how tools like inclusionary zoning and a city-run housing authority could work here.” Cadman said city staff should be asked to study these tools and others all with the goal of drastically increasing housing affordability in Vancouver.

“Imagine a Vancouver without families, without a working class, without artists, and without seniors. That is exactly where we’re headed unless we do something bold today,” said Cadman.

Woodsworth notes that Vancouver should be leading a charge with Canada’s other large cities to call for a joint federal, provincial, municipal campaign on housing issues. “This is the biggest homelessness and affordability crisis seen since the great depression. We need to treat it with all the urgency this situation demands.”

Cadman and Woodsworth will ask city staff about these issues during today’s briefing and then introduce amendments at Thursday’s Council meeting.

COPE Says New Housing Strategy must be Strengthened