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On September 27, the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability released its final report that outlines its recommendations for affordable housing solutions in the City.  Vancouver City Council will vote October 2nd on priority action items developed by City staff based on the recommendations of the Task Force.  These priority items have been identified as having the potential to contribute to affordability in the immediate term and are targeted at moderate income households with incomes ranging from $21,500 to $86,500:

  • Action 1: Implement an Interim Rezoning Policy that increases affordable housing choices across Vancouver’s neighbourhoods
  • Action 2: Implement the Thin Streets concept identified through the re:THINK HOUSING ideas competition
  • Action 3: Develop an operational and organizational model for a City Housing Authority, including a business plan.
  • Action 4: Use current community planning programs to increase the supply of affordable housing
  • Action 5: Revise and clarify Council’s inclusionary housing policies (i.e. the 20% Policy) to emphasize a flexible and creative approach to the delivery of affordable housing in large developments.
  • Action 6: Identify additional City-owned lands that may be underused and undertake planning work to bring these sites forward for affordable housing development.

The action items presented in the report focus on actions that the City itself can take to address housing affordability for moderate income households.  Missing entirely from both the priority action items and the additional action items presented in the staff report is any mention of the role of senior governments in the development of affordable housing, and rental housing specifically.  The Task Force report suggests using the influence of the City and the Task Force membership to lobby for federal and provincial tax incentives to stimulate the development of purpose-built rent housing, but these recommendations are absent from staff’s action items.  The City of Vancouver is to be commended for its leadership and its efforts to find solutions to affordability.  However, it is important that senior governments are not let off the hook as cities cannot solve housing affordability on their own.  Addressing the affordability challenges facing Canadian cities requires the cooperation of all levels of government.

Media coverage of Mayor’s Task Force Final Report:



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