With a focus on Metro Vancouver and Victoria — to start — we're working to help change the conversation around new housing supply by getting more young people (and all people) involved in municipal consultations and decision-making processes, and by showing what we can accomplish and build when we choose to focus on opportunity instead of fear.
We support policies and projects that put Homes First (investments second). Part of tackling the housing crisis includes providing a surge in housing supply for young people and families who are struggling to find and afford housing in cities across Canada.
Our work is guided by CMHC’s 2018 study Examining Escalating House Prices in Large Metropolitan Centres — one of the most comprehensive studies of the factors driving housing costs ever conducted in Canada.
This research shows that low-density zoning and other regulatory barriers to adding supply in land already reserved for residences are substantial drivers of higher home prices in urban centres, especially in B.C. and Ontario.
Accordingly, we call on provincial governments in both provinces to:
- Establish performance standards for municipalities with respect to the approval of new developments
- Organize provincial housing and transit investments to incentivize municipalities to add density
- Explore options to support municipalities with funds to grow the number of personnel required to enhance efficiency for decisions about projects, and zoning related policies
Simultaneously, we work at the municipal level, and our goal is to restore affordable housing options in all cities across Canada. We push large urban centres to:
- Plan for smart, transit-accessible densification
- Shift away from exclusionary zoning in favour of pre-zoning for missing middle typologies and higher density
- Prioritize the rebuilding or renovation of the dedicated rental stock decimated by decades long disinvestment, stratification and redevelopment as condos
- Cut the red tape on affordable housing in their jurisdictions
Currently, our #CodeRed campaign rallies support for specific projects in Metro Vancouver and Victoria that advance these goals. We need more housing for the homeless, low-income earners, as well as for middle income households.
This means we support projects that apply to a range of income brackets — with the goal that a surge in supply will help bring costs down over time, increase competition, reduce demand per unit, and reduce the vacancy rate.
Our main focus is:
Affordable rent. We’re not building homes affordable for local young people if we don’t keep in mind that median local salaries can only afford $1,675/month for a 3-bedroom place.
Affordable ownership. It wasn’t that long ago when average homes in these regions cost $250k. Expecting a young person to pay $500k is a lot, akin to buying two homes when our parents were our age. While half a million won’t buy two homes any more, it should at least buy more than 2 bedrooms. That’s a priority for us.
Projects we support include one or more of the following:
- Purpose built rental, because the vacancy rate is below 1 per cent across the region, and renters need affordable homes too
- Rent Geared to Income (RGI), so that rent reflects local earnings
- Innovative ownership structure, to promote affordability
- One third of units are 3+ bedroom, because homes suitable for families are in short supply, and because many studio and 1-bedroom suites have already been built recently
- Displacement management: if your project would displace existing tenants, we need a tenant relocation plan that is fully accountable for ensuring tenants find affordable housing options
- Access to transit
- Up-zoning low to higher density
- Proximity to neighbourhood amenities
- Addition of public amenities
- Providing units/partnerships for organizations that support vulnerable populations (e.g. women’s shelters, indigenous housing, mental health and adiction services, etc.)
Are you a for-profit or non-profit developer, with a great proposal to build new homes in Metro Vancouver?
Do you have a project you’d like us to support? If it is in-line with the vision above, we want to hear all about it!