Opinion: Government is helping to fix the BC housing crisis

Featured Comment

Christy Clark -

This funding commitment gives us the ability to make significant investments, put British Columbians first, and take immediate action to increase the rental supply in communities throughout B.C.

Opinion Leaders

Recently Joined



VIC­TO­RIA — The B.C. gov­ern­ment is set to roll out its plan to cre­ate al­most 2,900 new rental units Tues­day, with half the af­ford­able hous­ing stock ear­marked for the Lower Main­land. Premier Christy Clark and Hous­ing Min­is­ter Rich Cole­man will un­veil 68 af­ford­able hous­ing projects across the province, to­talling 2,897 new rental units. The de­tails flesh out how the province plans to spend a $500-mil­lion hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity fund first an­nounced by Clark in Septem­ber. Half of the new rental spa­ces, or roughly 1,441 units in 22 projects, will be lo­cated in the Lower Main­land and Fraser Val­ley, which have been hard­est hit by the hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity cri­sis. That in­cludes 202 rental units in three projects in Burn­aby, 160 units in one project in Rich­mond, 326 units in five projects in Sur­rey and 611 units in 10 projects in the City of Van­cou­ver. Cole­man has pre­vi­ously an­nounced low-in­come fam­ily and youth units in Chilliwack, as well as af­ford­able rental units in Whistler. The gov­ern­ment will make the an­nounce­ment in Sur­rey, where it plans to high­light a $4.7-mil­lion part­ner­ship with the YWCA Metro Van­cou­ver to cre­ate 40 apart­ments for low-to-mod­er­ate-in­come sin­gle moth­ers who have chil­dren with spe­cial needs. Those kinds of part­ner­ships with com­mu­nity groups, pri­vate de­vel­op­ers and other gov­ern­ments have been cited by Cole­man as key to stretch­ing the pro­vin­cial fund­ing to pro­vide even more rental spa­ces. The YWCA al­ready op­er­ates seven sup­port­ive hous­ing com­mu­ni­ties across Metro Van­cou­ver, and has plans for four more. For clients such as Jen Buck­ing­ham, ex­pand­ing the YWCA sup­port is es­sen­tial. Buck­ing­ham’s 14-yearold daugh­ter Dorothy has ve­lo­car­dio­fa­cial syn­drome (VCFS) and autism, mean­ing she can be prone to loud out­bursts, mak­ing it a chal­lenge to get a tra­di­tional rental unit from a land­lord who might not be sym­pa­thetic to such dis­rup­tion, said Buck­ing­ham. Buck­ing­ham ob­tained the YWCA’s help to find sup­port­ive hous­ing in Sur­rey, and said new units ded­i­cated to moth­ers with spe­cial-needs chil­dren are crit­i­cal. “I think it’s a very pos­i­tive move and hope they con­tinue with more along the same lines,” she said. Clark billed the af­ford­able hous­ing fund as an at­tempt to help at-risk renters who had been squeezed out of the hous­ing mar­ket by in­creased home sales and ris­ing prices. The rev­enue comes from B.C.’s prop­erty trans­fer tax, which has been a fi­nan­cial wind­fall in re­cent months for the pro­vin­cial trea­sury. Se­niors, sin­gle par­ents, youth tran­si­tion­ing, the dis­abled, First Na­tions, and women and chil­dren flee­ing abu­sive re­la­tion­ships are the pri­or­ity for the hous­ing fund, Clark has said. It’s also one plank in the gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse to the hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity cri­sis in Metro Van­cou­ver, which in­cluded a 15 per cent for­eign buy­ers tax in­tro­duced in Au­gust. Crit­ics have said Clark’s gov­ern­ment was too slow to act to cool the mar­ket, and it has not done enough to help vul­ner­a­ble home­own­ers or renters. A hand­ful of re­main­ing hous­ing projects are ex­pected to be an­nounced later this year.

© PressReader. All rights reserved.