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This Week in Housing News: From Vienna to Vancouver

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BCNPHA Reveals BC renters facing ‘affordability crunch’

A new tool developed by the BC Non-Profit Housing Association shows the extent of the affordability issue in BC.  Data for the Rental Housing Index was collected through extensive surveys across the province.  The index is the first of its kind in Canada, and will be updated every year.  The data show that nearly a quarter of BC renters are spending mro than half their income on housing, which is considered “crisis level” spending.  (BCNPHA, CBC, The Tyee)


Housing affordability stays top of mind for Metro Vancouver mayors

Yet another survey has revealed that Vancouver’s affordability crisis is deep and far-reaching.  The survey, conducted by the Urban Development Institute and Insights West, showed that only 40% of Vancouverites have the annual income needed to qualify for a mortgage for a concrete condominium.  The article includes comments from Metro Vancouver’s newly elected Mayors on the topic of affordable housing.  (The Vancouver Sun)


Social housing policy helps Vienna

In an editorial, a reader draws on her experience in Vienna to provide a suggestion for the provision of social housing in Vancouver.  Are mid-rise social housing units a potential answer for Vancouver’s housing issues?  (The Vancouver Sun)

This Week in Housing News: Homelessness and Hot Housing Markets

Homelessness Plans leave women and girls out in the cold

The Women Transforming Cities campaign brings attention to the specific needs of homeless women and girls.  They are often left out of homeless counts as they are forced to stay off the street and hide for safety.  (Women Transforming Cities)


Bringing Justice to Housing Costs: Interview with Penny Gurstein & Margot Young

In this interview with the two co-principal investigators on the Housing Justice Project, Penny Gurstein and Margot Young explain how candidates in the municipal elections could work to improve housing affordability in our city.  (UBC)



Young Vancouverites fleeing to more affordable pastures

Penny Gurstein talks to Metro News about the trend of young people leaving Vancouver for more affordable cities.  A combination of low wages, rising unemployment, and increasing land prices have encouraged young people to move to cities such as Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto.  (Metro)


Income Inequality Update from @Hulchanksi

University of Toronto professor and housing advocate David Hulchanski shares an update to the income inequality situation in Vanada.  Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary are the Canadian cities where the top 1% of earners make most of the total annual income.  (Twitter)


A New Model for Affordable Housing

The New York Times explores the example of the Astoria Cove development in New York to illustrate how cities can use zoning to leverage developers to include social housing.  After weeks of negotiations with the developer, New York city council approved a development with 27% affordable housing (up from 20%), including units for as low as $800 a month.  (The New York Times)


A House is Not a Credit Card

Bethany McLean explores the troubling trend of people refinancing their mortgages and taking on extra debt in order to receive the difference in cash.  Essentially, they’re taking on credit, using their homes like a credit card.  (The New York Times)



Home prices surge in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver (and, oh, Hamilton)

Indicators for housing prices show a recent increase in some Canadian markets, including Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary.  (The Globe & Mail)

This Week in Housing News: Mayoral Powers and London’s Housing Boom

Big Cities, Small MayorsBig Cities, Small Mayors

Despite being the country’s major centres of population and economic activities, the Mayors of Canada’s largest cities face challenges with their limited authority in relation to other levels of government.  Their lack of power has meant that in some cases, cities like Vancouver and Calgary are unable to cope with their growing needs.  (The National)


Housing Affordability: Is the Real Issue Our Expectations?

Shelley Fralic explores the idea of affordable home ownership in the Lower Mainland by questioning the paradigm that families have to buy single-family homes.  While that may have been an achievable dream for the Baby Boomer generation,  young families may have to look instead to condominiums for home ownership.  (The Vancouver Sun)


Vancouver’s House Price Crunch: Campaign Pledges and Pitfalls

With election rhetoric ramping up before November 15th, the Tyee has examined what degree of control the municipal government actually has over affordable housing.  SCARP Adjunct Professor Andy Yan reports that the Provincial government has much greater control over housing, while the city lacks information on the number of empty housing units in the city.  Other topics covered include the role of City Council in tweaking development proposals,  Vision Vancouver’s rental unit goals, social housing, and the possibility of implementing a Whistler-style housing authority in Vancouver.  (The Tyee)


Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 1.47.59 AM London’s Housing Boom

Reni Eddo-Lodge reports on the phenomenon of sky-rocketing housing prices in London.  Sites like Stratford, the East London site of the Olympics, the average rent is half the local average income.  The appearance of modern new buildings reflect a narrative familiar to Vancouverites: the ideal of home ownership is one that is slipping out of reach for many young people.  (The New York Times)


Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 1.47.28 AMThe State of Homelessness in Canada 2014 Report Released

The 2014 State of Homelessness in Canada report has been released.  The research summarizes efforts from the past year to relieve homelessness, provides an assessment of current needs, and highlights affordable housing as a way to move forward on eliminating homelessness.  (State of Homelessness in Canada)

This Week In Housing News: Candidates’ Debates & Co-Housing

The Housing Justice Project Hosts Candidates’ Debate on Affordable Housing

With the civic election around the corner, Candidates have been making appearances at public events, press conferences, and debates.  On Thursday, October 23, the Housing Justice Project hosted its own debate on affordable housing, in partnership with the UBC School of Community & Regional Planning, and the Vancouver Sun.  Candidates from six parties were asked a range of tough questions from a panel of four housing experts, covering topics from social housing to re-zoning residential neighbourhoods to increase density.  For a look at how the debate played out over social media, check out our Twitter story!  (The Vancouver Sun)

City Council Candidates also participated in a debate on Wednesday in the West Point Grey neighbourhood, where they discussed the development of the Jericho lands and the possibility of a rapid transit line to UBC.  (The Vancouver Courier)


Tackling Housing with Tax Policy

With affordable housing dominating discourse in the upcoming election, Barbara Yaffe write about a neglected tactic to alleviate housing costs: tax policy.  Tex Enemark describes a problem of seniors saying in large houses while young families look for places to live, due to ineffective incentives.  Enemark says the  BC and federal governments have washed their hands of housing policy, perceiving few votes to be won.  (The Vancouver Sun)


Vancouver Co-Housing Movement Gains Traction

Co-housing, a type of living arrangement where a small community works together and shares resources and space, is making its debut in Vancouver with a new development on 33rd Avenue.  Residents will share common spaces like guest rooms and home offices, and work with each other on tasks like cooking and taking out the trash.  (The Globe & Mail)


Does a Neighbourhood Belong to Its Residents?

The role of developers in the planning process has been a big topic of discussion in Vancouver.  Barbara Yaffe questions the power that developers have to build in residential neighbourhoods, including on the City of Vancouver’s Board of Variance, a special panel that makes decisions on housing regulations.  (The Vancouver Sun)


Affordable Vancouver? Twitter Story