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Vancouver council greenlights $2B affordable housing fund

Endowment aims to consolidate City’s assets to help deliver homes including 12,000 social housing units
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Vancouver city hall. Photo Dan Toulgoet

A new $2 billion Affordable Housing Endowment Fund, announced June 13, was approved June 21 by City of Vancouver council.

The fund will amalgamate more than 200 City-owned assets, and capture revenue from Community Amenity Contributions, the Empty Homes Tax and funds from the City’s Capital Plan. This fund, planning staff told media on June 13, will enable the City to take a more holistic “portfolio” approach to building its planned 72,000 new homes over 10 years, including 12,000 new social, supportive and co-op units.

The City said that the fund was part of a newly approved financial strategy taking five approaches to deliver social housing, which comprise of the City:

• continuing to secure social housing through inclusionary housing policies;

• acquiring new housing sites to sustainably deliver future homes;

• increasing the social housing requirement on large sites from 20 to 30 per cent (20 per cent social housing, and 10 per cent moderate income rental for households earning $30,000-$80,000 a year);

• supporting non-profit housing societies and enabling non-profit ownership of social housing; and

• pursuing a multi-year partnership and investment plan with senior levels of government to deploy city land for use in building affordable housing.

Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement, “Today’s approval of the Vancouver Affordable Housing Endowment Fund and Financial Strategy will accelerate our efforts to create more affordable housing for people who live and work in Vancouver. We’re dramatically ramping up the right supply of new homes for Vancouver residents, building more rental options for households with moderate incomes, creating more family-sized homes, and providing more social housing for low-income residents.”

The City’s general manager of planning Gil Kelley added, “This fund will allow the City to deliver the maximum amount of non-market housing for residents by leveraging the assets we currently own. Combining these assets will significantly enhance our ability to deliver on Housing Vancouver targets.”