Category Archives: City Housing News

Vancouver – Housing Project for Chinese Seniors

Architect Patrick R. Stewart’s rendering of the proposed Chinese seniors’ housing development at 835-837 East Hastings Street.

August 1st, 2018

Carlito Pablo, The Georgia Straight 


A Chinese clan association is proposing to provide affordable housing for elderly Chinese in East Vancouver. Lee’s Benevolent Association of Canada has purchased a site on East Hastings Street between Hawks and Campbell avenues for this purpose.

The location is near Chinatown, which the association deems will be of great benefit to Chinese seniors who will live in the future development.

“Lee’s Benevolent believes this project is a great opportunity for…aging Chinese seniors in the neighbourhood to remain close to the Chinatown community with its associated sense of community, social opportunities, shopping, groceries, produce, and other supports,” according to a letter by George Lee to the City of Vancouver.

Lee was writing on behalf of the association regarding its application to rezone the location for a six-storey mixed-use building.

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75 New Affordable Units coming to Coquitlam

Coquitlam is B.C’s first community to receive HousingHub money to build units

April 13th, 2018

Richard Zussman, Global News

Coquitlam is set to be home to the province’s first HousingHub as the provincial government looks to partner to build 75 housing units in the community.

“Building affordable homes for middle-income people is key to tackling the housing crisis, and we have to work together to get it done,” said B.C. Premier John Horgan.

“We are taking the expertise from BC Housing and now bringing the resources as well. We will get the projects started.”

The HousingHub was a key component of the NDP government’s 30 point housing plan that was unveiled in February. It aims to bring local governments, developers and the non-profit sector together to build housing.

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Vancouver – 6 Story Rental Project Approved

Taking inspiration from Vienna, City of North Van council unanimously green lights 48-unit rental project with five below-market units. Graphic Supplied by City of North Vancouver

July 18th, 2018

Jeremy Shepherd, North Shore News

Shortly after discussing the role Austria’s communist party played in establishing Vienna’s stock of subsidized rental housing; City of North Vancouver council got around to the development on the table.

The project has a floor space ratio – which measures a building’s total floor space against its lot size – of 2.6, making it as dense as possible according to city guidelines. Rather than pay the city approximately $1.96 million for more than 14,000 extra square feet of floor space, the applicant offered to make the project 100 per cent rental and include five units rented at 10 per cent below market rates for at least 10 years.

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Vancouver – New Affordable Housing Units


Nearly 1,000 affordable units on the way for Vancouver

May 4th, 2018 

Richard Zussman, Global News

It’s being touted as the “largest one-time municipal land investment” in Canadian history. The city of Vancouver has announced the Community Land trust is going to build almost 1,000 affordable rental units on city land.

The new suites are targeted at renters who make $30,000 and $80,000 a year. There will be seven sites for development, including three downtown that will include 400 units.

“Hopefully there will be some units at welfare rates, right up to probably $1,800 to $2,000 per month for the family units,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “With today’s announcement, Vancouver has made the single largest investment into non-market housing of any city in Canada. This is the latest step we have taken to make sure that people with low to middle incomes can find a home and build a future in our city.”

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Surrey – New Affordable Housing for Indigenous People


Artistic rendering of 561 140th Street, Surrey. (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

Kenneth Chan, Urbanized

June 11th, 2018

An affordable rental housing project in Surrey with a focus on low-income and senior Indigenous people is moving ahead as a result of financial support from both senior governments.

Sohkeyah, which means ‘Robin’s Nest’, will be constructed at 7561 140th Street with a total of 176 new rental homes over two phases, with 73 of the homes dedicated for Indigenous people in need.

The first funded phase of two development phases will replace an existing complex with 33 three-bedroom units, and it will include unit sizes ranging from studios to two-bedroom units.

Kekinow Native Housing Society will operate the housing complex, which will have rents ranging from about $550 to $1,300 per month.

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Vancouver offers city land in bid for social-housing cash from Ottawa

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is offering $250-million worth of city-owned property as part of an ambitious prebudget pitch to the federal government for new affordable-housing cash.

The 20 sites put forward by the city are largely concentrated in areas of new development, such as the north shore of False Creek and the southeast corner of the city in an area called East Fraserlands, as well as in the Downtown Eastside. Most of the properties are vacant lots.

The federal Liberals are just weeks away from releasing their first budget and have clearly signalled that social housing is a priority for infrastructure spending, particularly because construction and its associated stimulus impacts can occur quickly at a time when the Canadian economy is struggling.

The proposal from Vancouver, the largest offer of municipal land ever made by the city, is aimed at attracting $500-million in federal housing money over five years. The city is also asking the B.C. government to contribute.

Vancouver is not directly responsible for managing and adding to the large stock of social housing in the city. In B.C., the provincial government is primarily responsible for social housing.

Mr. Robertson will be among 19 of Canada’s big-city mayors who are meeting in Ottawa this week to make their prebudget pitches directly to federal cabinet ministers as part of a formal gathering of the mayors’ caucus, organized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, that’s set for Thursday and Friday.

In a sign of Ottawa’s interest, the Prime Minister is expected to meet the mayors, as will Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, Immigration Minister John McCallum, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

The Liberals are promising to spend $60-billion in new infrastructure cash over the next 10 years, split evenly between public transit, social infrastructure and green infrastructure. The agenda of the mayors’ two-day meeting is focused on the federal budget and climate change, which is a sign that cities are trying to craft their infrastructure requests so they can tap into all three sources of cash.

While cities have long warned that the demand for affordable housing far exceeds supply, mayors are clearly preparing their pitches to fit with two of the federal government’s more pressing priorities: boosting economic growth and finding homes for thousands of new Syrian refugees.

“Particularly with the economic wobble, we’ve looked at opportunities to create as many jobs as possible,” Mr. Robertson said in an interview. The mayor said his proposal should create up to 9,000 jobs over five years. “It is geared for putting people to work building affordable housing and responding to the government’s concerns on the economy,” he said.

B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman, who will also be in Ottawa this week, declined to respond Monday on whether the province would consider contributing to the plan.

The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency has contractors lined up to start work and the city estimates the plan would create 3,500 affordable-housing units, with the potential to start construction on 500 of those units this year.

Toronto Mayor John Tory will be making a similar request during his visit to Ottawa. Toronto announced a plan in November that would open up five sites for affordable-housing development in the short term and a further 13 sites for future development.

In an interview, Mr. Tory said he would like Ottawa to free up federally owned land in the city for affordable housing and provide extra cash for new builds and renovations of existing housing. The mayor said his own discussions with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have been “very encouraging” on this file.

He also said the mayors will want to discuss how to house the influx of refugees, who require housing that is separate from the existing stock of affordable housing.

“Our social housing has a long waiting list for it already,” he said in explaining why that is not an option in Toronto, where many Syrian refugees are arriving. “We’re having to find other answers and I guess that’s what makes it complicated, because the other answers aren’t simple to come up with,” he said. “Housing is going to be one of the most important determinants of whether we can settle these refugees effectively as soon as possible.”

Mr. Robertson and his Vision Vancouver party have aggressively worked to increase the amount of shelter space and social housing since first being elected in 2008.

Many Vancouver city councils over the years have encouraged the province to invest by providing sites. But Mr. Robertson’s council has gone beyond that recently by buying some hotels outright to be used for housing.

As well, three years ago, it contributed $22-million worth of land on four sites for an innovative project being undertaken by a group of nonprofits and co-ops that are about to start construction on 355 units of housing.

The Social Housing Alliance in B.C. estimates that at least 116,000 people in the province are in a housing crisis, including 11,000 who are visibly homeless, 40,000 who are among the “hidden homeless” by living temporarily with friends, family or in cars and a further 65,000 who are at risk of homelessness because they spend more than 50 per cent of their income on rent.