HOUS­ING Draft city bud­get de­liv­ers so­cial-hous­ing wind­fall Sev­eral projects have been iden­ti­fied as high pri­or­i­ties

The Georgia Straight - - Housing - By Car­l­ito Pablo

The City of Van­cou­ver plans to in­vest $78 mil­lion in af­ford­able-hous­ing ini­tia­tives next year.

The amount rep­re­sents al­most 14 per­cent of pro­posed cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­tures to­talling $568 mil­lion in the draft 2019 city bud­get. Af­ford­able hous­ing is the third-big­gest cap­i­tal item af­ter wa­ter and trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture.

“As a grow­ing and di­verse city, Van­cou­ver needs to con­tinue to in­crease the avail­abil­ity and range of af­ford­able hous­ing choices for all res­i­dents,” the draft bud­get states. “This is a crit­i­cal step in pro­mot­ing eco­nomic devel­op­ment while build­ing a healthy, re­silient and sus­tain­able city that has safe, in­clu­sive and cre­ative com­mu­ni­ties.”

The doc­u­ment con­tin­ues: “Re­spond­ing to Van­cou­ver’s cur­rent hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity cri­sis is the most sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge fac­ing the City to­day.”

In 2019, the city in­tends to spend $36.6 mil­lion buy­ing land for so­cial and af­ford­able hous­ing. This is the big­gest al­lo­ca­tion from its $78-mil­lion pro­posed cap­i­tal bud­get for hous­ing.

The city will also con­tinue with the re­de­vel­op­ment of the Rod­dan Lodge and Eve­lyne Saller Cen­tre in the Down­town East­side, with a bud­get for next year of $10 mil­lion. A new 11-storey build­ing with 213 so­cial-hous­ing units, plus a re­lo­cated Eve­lyne Saller Cen­tre, will be de­vel­oped at 124 Dun­levy Street, re­plac­ing Rod­dan Lodge, a six-storey build­ing with 156 sin­gle­room-oc­cu­pancy units.

In ad­di­tion, the city plans to buy af­ford­able-hous­ing prop­er­ties in the Down­town East­side, with a bud­get of $7.5 mil­lion. As well, the city’s Van­cou­ver Af­ford­able Hous­ing Agency will get $3.2 mil­lion from the $78-mil­lion bud­get for af­ford­able hous­ing. This will pro­vide the cap­i­tal sup­port for its projects in 2019.

In a sep­a­rate pa­per, which deals with the bud­get out­look for 2019– 2023, the city iden­ti­fies 3510 Fraser Street as one of the hous­ing projects that will get money for next year. A six-storey build­ing will be de­vel­oped at the site, with a se­niors’ cen­tre at ground level and 58 hous­ing units for se­niors on the up­per floors.

Go­ing back to the main bud­get doc­u­ment, the city will also al­lo­cate $3.2 mil­lion as cap­i­tal grants to nonprofit part­ners to “en­hance vi­a­bil­ity and af­ford­abil­ity of their non-mar­ket hous­ing projects”.

More­over, the city will pro­vide $2 mil­lion in cap­i­tal grants for the up­grad­ing of sin­gle-room-oc­cu­pancy units.

“Cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­tures of $568 mil­lion are bud­geted for 2019 to com­plete or ad­vance progress on a num­ber of on­go­ing and new multi-year cap­i­tal projects, in­clud­ing sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments in key pri­or­ity ar­eas,” ac­cord­ing to the bud­get doc­u­ment.

In ad­di­tion to cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­tures, the city’s op­er­at­ing bud­get for next year is pro­posed at $1.5 bil­lion.

The bud­get will be pre­sented to coun­cil on Tues­day (De­cem­ber 11). Coun­cil will vote on the bud­get on De­cem­ber 18.

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