Planning Vancouver Together: Housing

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Illustration of people walking down a street

Housing is a key priority for Planning Vancouver Together; a long-term planning initiative to create a city-wide plan to help guide community recovery and long-term planning on these traditional unceded lands we call Vancouver. We’ve heard a lot from you through this process and in recent years about your housing experiences and challenges; we want to take this opportunity to go deeper, in order to move towards a more equitable and resilient housing system.

From November 2019 to August 2020, you helped us to understand your challenges and identify what matters most to you and your communities. We heard

Housing is a key priority for Planning Vancouver Together; a long-term planning initiative to create a city-wide plan to help guide community recovery and long-term planning on these traditional unceded lands we call Vancouver. We’ve heard a lot from you through this process and in recent years about your housing experiences and challenges; we want to take this opportunity to go deeper, in order to move towards a more equitable and resilient housing system.

From November 2019 to August 2020, you helped us to understand your challenges and identify what matters most to you and your communities. We heard that rising unaffordability, housing insecurity, and homelessness are serious challenges facing Vancouver residents.

In October 2020, 10 provisional goals were endorsed by City Council to help guide us towards the future we want to become. Goal #5 of the Vancouver Plan is to Develop an Affordable City with Diverse and Secure Housing for every resident that they can afford with 30% or less of their household income.

In the second phase of public engagement to develop the Vancouver Plan, we are taking a focused approach and want to engage more deeply with you on your housing experience and ideas for a more resilient, affordable and healthy housing system. Share your thoughts/questions below!

Please visit the Planning Vancouver Together page for more engagement opportunities on the development of the Vancouver Plan.

  • Survey on Displacement & Exclusion

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    24 Feb 2021

    How has Vancouver’s housing crisis affected you? What can we do now, and going forward, to create a more equitable housing system?

    We’re taking a deep dive into how the housing crisis is impacting your ability to stay in your communities. We want to hear from you as part of the Planning Vancouver Together process, which aims to reflect the diversity of our population and result in a long-term, strategic vision and actionable Vancouver Plan.

    Share your thoughts and concerns around rising housing costs, displacement and exclusion from Vancouver housing. Your feedback will be used to help us develop key housing policy for the citywide Vancouver Plan.

    Tell us what you think.

    Click here to start the survey

    If you are unable to click on the link please copy and paste the full URL below into your browser:
    https://talkvancouver.questionpro.ca/t/AB3uoF2ZB3usR3

    Thank you!

    How has Vancouver’s housing crisis affected you? What can we do now, and going forward, to create a more equitable housing system?

    We’re taking a deep dive into how the housing crisis is impacting your ability to stay in your communities. We want to hear from you as part of the Planning Vancouver Together process, which aims to reflect the diversity of our population and result in a long-term, strategic vision and actionable Vancouver Plan.

    Share your thoughts and concerns around rising housing costs, displacement and exclusion from Vancouver housing. Your feedback will be used to help us develop key housing policy for the citywide Vancouver Plan.

    Tell us what you think.

    Click here to start the survey

    If you are unable to click on the link please copy and paste the full URL below into your browser:
    https://talkvancouver.questionpro.ca/t/AB3uoF2ZB3usR3

    Thank you!

  • Virtual panel: Towards a more equitable housing system

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    19 Jan 2021

    Join us on Thursday, January 21 for the second event of The Future We Want: The Change We Need series, hosted by the City of Vancouver in partnership with SFU.

    About this Event

    Beginning in the early 1970s, the percentage of Vancouver households living in rental units has been greater than 50%. Nevertheless, renters consistently face difficulties in finding housing that is adequate, stable and secure. In more recent years, rental affordability has become a particularly challenging and detrimental issue for many households. While some in the city may strive for home ownership, data tells us that this possibility has become increasingly out of reach, even for those with moderate incomes.

    Given the reality that a majority of Vancouverites will most likely continue to live in rental housing, what does this mean for the next generation, for seniors and families, for low-income, racialized and marginalized households, and for the many others who do not see a secure housing future in Vancouver?

    How must the City of Vancouver think differently about housing and the housing market to better meet the needs of its residents, ensuring priority for those with the greatest need?

    What is required of a new city-wide plan to ensure the urgent and transformative change necessary to establish an equitable housing system?

    Join us to discuss these questions at the second event in The Future We Want: The Change We Need series, hosted by the City of Vancouver in partnership with Simon Fraser University.

    Join us on Thursday, January 21 for the second event of The Future We Want: The Change We Need series, hosted by the City of Vancouver in partnership with SFU.

    About this Event

    Beginning in the early 1970s, the percentage of Vancouver households living in rental units has been greater than 50%. Nevertheless, renters consistently face difficulties in finding housing that is adequate, stable and secure. In more recent years, rental affordability has become a particularly challenging and detrimental issue for many households. While some in the city may strive for home ownership, data tells us that this possibility has become increasingly out of reach, even for those with moderate incomes.

    Given the reality that a majority of Vancouverites will most likely continue to live in rental housing, what does this mean for the next generation, for seniors and families, for low-income, racialized and marginalized households, and for the many others who do not see a secure housing future in Vancouver?

    How must the City of Vancouver think differently about housing and the housing market to better meet the needs of its residents, ensuring priority for those with the greatest need?

    What is required of a new city-wide plan to ensure the urgent and transformative change necessary to establish an equitable housing system?

    Join us to discuss these questions at the second event in The Future We Want: The Change We Need series, hosted by the City of Vancouver in partnership with Simon Fraser University.

  • Background and resources

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    18 Jan 2021

    We know the existing housing system does not work for many Vancouver residents and that these vulnerabilities in our system were further exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These vulnerabilities include:

    • Persistent homelessness – as of the 2020 Homeless Count, completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 2,000 people in Vancouver are without a home. These residents often have unsafe living conditions and limited shelter options. The results of the Count continue to highlight the long-term impacts of systemic racism and colonialism, particularly on Indigenous and Black people and how these impacts contribute to homelessness, poverty and exclusion. While the reasons people fall into homelessness can be complex, the pathway out of homelessness is straight forward – people need access to income, housing, community, connection and support services.
    • Renter instability - Vancouver is a city of renters with 53% of households renting and 76% of net new households renting. However, we’ve heard that renters often feel they have few choices of where in the city and in what type of housing they are able to live. With not enough secure purpose-built rental building options, some renters live in less secure secondary rental, such as rented condos and basement suites. Many renters also fear being displaced due to evictions, rising rents, lack of affordable housing choices or redevelopment pressures. These pressures have been exacerbated for many, by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • High demand for social and secured rental housing – With very high costs of ownership and rents rising faster than local incomes, there is an increased demand for social and co-op housing, as well as affordable rental housing. There are over 4,000 people on the waitlist for social housing in the City of Vancouver and over one third of renter households spend more than 30% of their income on rent. Historically, new housing in the City has not been the “Right Supply” – homes our residents need and can afford. Changes to Federal programs in the 1960s and 1970s meant few purpose-built rental and social housing buildings have been built since then, up until about five years ago. As a result, most of today’s affordable housing stock is both in high demand and in need of renewal.

    We know that we can’t go back to “business as usual” once the COVID-19 pandemic ends. We need to address these significant inequities in our housing system and move toward a more resilient future. Our housing system is complex, and is influenced by municipal, Provincial and Federal powers and funding. We need to work with our partners, including other levels of government, the community housing sector, as well as the private sector, to address these systemic vulnerabilities.

    Here are some resources from the City and its partners, which give further background and research, as well as plans and policies in place.

    We know the existing housing system does not work for many Vancouver residents and that these vulnerabilities in our system were further exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These vulnerabilities include:

    • Persistent homelessness – as of the 2020 Homeless Count, completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 2,000 people in Vancouver are without a home. These residents often have unsafe living conditions and limited shelter options. The results of the Count continue to highlight the long-term impacts of systemic racism and colonialism, particularly on Indigenous and Black people and how these impacts contribute to homelessness, poverty and exclusion. While the reasons people fall into homelessness can be complex, the pathway out of homelessness is straight forward – people need access to income, housing, community, connection and support services.
    • Renter instability - Vancouver is a city of renters with 53% of households renting and 76% of net new households renting. However, we’ve heard that renters often feel they have few choices of where in the city and in what type of housing they are able to live. With not enough secure purpose-built rental building options, some renters live in less secure secondary rental, such as rented condos and basement suites. Many renters also fear being displaced due to evictions, rising rents, lack of affordable housing choices or redevelopment pressures. These pressures have been exacerbated for many, by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • High demand for social and secured rental housing – With very high costs of ownership and rents rising faster than local incomes, there is an increased demand for social and co-op housing, as well as affordable rental housing. There are over 4,000 people on the waitlist for social housing in the City of Vancouver and over one third of renter households spend more than 30% of their income on rent. Historically, new housing in the City has not been the “Right Supply” – homes our residents need and can afford. Changes to Federal programs in the 1960s and 1970s meant few purpose-built rental and social housing buildings have been built since then, up until about five years ago. As a result, most of today’s affordable housing stock is both in high demand and in need of renewal.

    We know that we can’t go back to “business as usual” once the COVID-19 pandemic ends. We need to address these significant inequities in our housing system and move toward a more resilient future. Our housing system is complex, and is influenced by municipal, Provincial and Federal powers and funding. We need to work with our partners, including other levels of government, the community housing sector, as well as the private sector, to address these systemic vulnerabilities.

    Here are some resources from the City and its partners, which give further background and research, as well as plans and policies in place.