Here’s how Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax revenue will be spent

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One of the projects being funded is the concept of a “temporary modular college,” which was pitched by Karen Ward’s group at the city-run “idea jam” May 17. Council approved $100,000 towards funding for skills training in peer support, affordable housing management and assist training for residents of supportive housing. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Vancouver city council has approved staff recommendations on how to spend $8 million worth of empty home tax revenue it’s collected to date.

The City of Vancouver expects it will collect $30 million from the tax in the first year, but implementation and operating costs will eat up $10 million, leaving $20 million to be invested on affordable housing initiatives.

About $18 million of the anticipated $30 million has been collected so far, which, after implementation and operating costs are covered, produces $8 million for distribution.

The money will be split as follows:

$3.175 million: more affordable co-op and non-profit housing. It will be invested in providing land and resources for affordable non-profit and co-op housing.

$1 million: more affordable co-op and non-profit housing. It will be invested in co-op housing grants to update and improve existing co-ops and build new co-ops.

$3.5 million: Improvements to low-income housing. The money will be used to contribute to the purchase of buildings and/or to provide assistance toward improved living conditions in private SRO housing.

$100,000: Support for vulnerable renters. The money will be used to provide support to renters facing eviction.

$75,000: Support for vulnerable renters. The money will go towards the Vancouver Rent Bank.

$100,000: Funding for skills training in peer support, affordable housing management, and asset training for residents of supportive housing. The basis for the idea was dreamed up at a recent one-day workshop. Proponents called the initiative ‘temporary modular college’: temporary modular housing with on-site peer-based mentorship programming.

$50,000: Matching empty/underutilized homes and rooms with renters looking for housing. The money will support shared housing models like senior/student housing arrangements.

Staff recommendations were informed by public feedback collected during a consultation process that included an online survey and a one-day “idea jam.”

Read more about the idea jam HERE.

“I’m very pleased that council has approved a variety of new affordable housing investments funded by Vancouver’s first Empty Homes Tax,” Mayor Gregor Robertson stated in a June 21 press release. “Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit, like, and comment on your favourite housing ideas. We will now be moving forward with new initiatives that will boost support for low-income renters, create more co-op and non-profit housing, and look at new opportunities to make the best use of our existing rental housing.”

noconnor@vancourier.com

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