For immediate release
April 23rd, 2014

Today, the City reported that the number of people sleeping on the streets, and the overall number of those without homes, has increased dramatically in the past year. The homelessness numbers are the highest recorded in Vancouver’s history.

“These numbers are unfortunately not a surprise,” said Tristan Markle of COPE’s Housing Committee. “COPE has been raising the alarm about rent increases in SRO hotels due to gentrification, as well as the city-wide epidemic of renovictions. The are even fewer precarious temporary winter shelters this year, and even they’re being shut down.”

Today COPE has released the final balloting results of its recent policy conference. COPE members voted overwhelmingly to support bold solutions to address these housing affordability problems, including:

  1. On its first day in office, COPE will declare a “housing state of emergency,” and mobilize the city’s resources to tackle our city’s affordability crisis using existing powers, as well as ramping-up pressure on higher levels of government.

  2. COPE will create a municipal housing authority that will generate revenues to build 800 units of social housing annually, in line with the need identified by the 2005 Homelessness Action Plan (passed by a COPE majority council). 400 of these units will replace private SROs annually, with the goal of replacing all 4,000 SROs inside 10 years.

  3. COPE will implement a “luxury housing tax” of only $1,000 per year for each million in assessed value in excess of $1.5M. This will generate revenues for the city-run housing authority and at the same minimize speculation on high-end properties.

  4. COPE will use the city’s permitting powers to ban renovictions, a proposal Vision has opposed.

  5. COPE will create a land-owner and landlord registry to monitor rent increases in purpose-built rental buildings, and identify underutilized properties to increase housing supply.

In the 2011, Vision Vancouver took over a million dollars from the real-estate corporations and developers. The Coalition of Progressive Electors does not take money from the real-estate industry.

For more information, please contact

Sean Antrim

COPE will tackle root causes of homelessness by protecting tenants and building real affordable housing