On Nov. 23 and after more than a year of consultations — including with Gen Squeeze — the City of Vancouver released its 10-year Housing Vancouver Strategy. After reading the 80+ pages we knew right away it was one of the strongest municipal housing strategies we had ever seen, and needed to be passed.
Our “Homes First” principle was all throughout the document: it identified younger residents as a vulnerable group, and Gen Squeeze even got a special shout-out!
But with the strategy calling for a major departure from the status quo, we knew there’d be some who would put up a fight.
So, that very same night, Gen Squeeze organizers Veronika and Tesicca hosted a training session with Abundant Housing Vancouver to help folks understand the strategy, learn how to write letters of support to city council, or speak up at the public hearing the following week.
On Nov. 29, council passed the strategy
Speaking to the strategy was one of the strongest opportunities we’ve ever had to support Vancouver on tackling the housing crisis in a detailed, meaningful way, so it was important to help teach Vancouverites the civic engagement ropes.
We hosted the training session because we know lots of people who've always wanted to weigh in on the housing crisis and demand action from elected officials, but never really knew where to start. We also created an online letter-writing tool for people to get in touch with their council members, and facilitated Twitter engagement as well.
Why we support the Housing Vancouver Strategy
- It explicitly embraces Generation Squeeze’s Homes First principle: that housing should first and foremost be a place to live — not just a place to invest or park money. Other Gen Squeeze policy principles, research findings and messages are in there, too.
- It’s a six-part strategy that covers all the bases: from shifting toward the ‘right kind of supply’, to tackling speculation (we need the province and feds to play ball here) and making city processes more efficient.
It recognizes that the affordability crisis goes “beyond housing”: housing, childcare and transportation — they’re all interconnected as part of the “squeeze.”
242 people wrote letters of support, bringing in a huge cohort of new Gen Squeeze supporters
More than 60 people attended our housing strategy training session
30 people spoke almost entirely in favour of the plan at the public hearing
10 of those folks were Gen Squeeze and Abundant Housing Vancouver community members
Only two council members voted against the strategy
Gen Squeeze’s Veronika Bylicki and Tesicca Truong were quoted in the City of Vancouver’s press release: Ambitious Housing Vancouver strategy to shift the future of our city.
"Tying targets for new homes to income brackets, prioritizing and preserving rental stock, and increasing the variety of housing options... will have a significant impact in improving the affordability and livability of Vancouver for the next decade."
- Tesicca Truong & Veronika Bylicki
We were only expecting a dozen or so folks to show up for our training session, but the incredible turnout was a clear testament to how much young people care about housing, and how much they want to help build solutions.
The Housing Vancouver Strategy is long and complex, but this process helped teach people you don’t need to be an expert to engage. The most important thing is to show up and to share your lived experience, and explain why something is important to you. That's all it takes.
We're going to continue with this incredible momentum in 2018 and hope you'll join us. If you want to join our Vancouver organizing team, email firstname.lastname@example.org for details on our next meet up.