On the heels of a recent poll by Insights West showing 40% of Vancouver residents consider affordable housing the biggest issue facing the city, Vancouver City Council is considering an application that will further erode housing for Vancouver’s low income renters says COPE.
The development application for Heather Place, which the City is considering under its Affordable Housing Policy, is set to increase the number of dwellings from 86 to 230, but the developer is proposing only 24 of the units be marked for social housing by the end of five years.
The application on behalf of Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation has been in the works since 2013. The staff report going to Council on March 11th notes the redevelopment would necessitate the relocation of existing tenants.
“What this means is disabled individuals and financially challenged families will be forced to try and find suitable housing elsewhere, and suffer financial hard ship in the process. Though the application includes an offer to reimburse disenfranchised individuals for their moving expenses and two months’ rent, these individuals do not have the means or credit needed to move and will be unable to pay market rent after the first two months,” says Louis.
The staff report acknowledges there is additional need for affordable housing stock for families.
“We want to know what exactly ‘affordable’ means, “ says Louis. “With 40 per cent of Vancouverites telling us that affordable housing is the biggest issue in the city, it is obvious City Council is not very realistic about affordability. A commitment on the rents to be charged for these units needs to be part of the application before the Council makes any decisions.”