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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

LIVE STREAM: Affordable Vancouver?

The Affordable Vancouver? debate, hosted by the Housing Justice Project, the UBC School of Community & Regional Planning, and the Vancouver Sun takes place tonight, October 23, at 7:00pm.  If you are unable to join us to heard from the candidates, watch a live stream at www.vancouversun.com/debate, and Tweet questions and comments using the hashtag #AffordableVan.

This Week in Housing News: Vancouver’s Affordability & UBC Rent Hikes

Vancouver must reprioritize housing for the homeless, experts say

What is the best way to end homelessness?  Homelessness experts Tim Richter and Judy Graves say it isn’t merely a case of opening more social housing spaces.  Rather, government authorities must prioritize based on need.  People may be homeless for different reasons, from the chronically homeless to low-income individuals who can move out of homelessness on their own.  (The Globe & Mail)

 

Student residence costs to increase by 20 per cent in 2015

UBC has announced plans to raise the rent of eight-month housing contracts by 20%, claiming that the increases are necessary to match market rates of housing.  The increases were introduced without student consultation  (The Uvyssey)  UBC students held a rally to protest the increase in rent, as well as a proposed increase in tuition fees.  (Global News)

 

Gregor Robertson speculates on speculators’ tax

Mayor Gregor Robertson has held off on taking a firm position on an absentee home-owners tax, like the one Meena Wong of COPE has proposed.  Both he and NPA candidate Kirk Lapointe have said that they are awaiting further research on absentee rates before making a decision on the matter.  (The Vancouver Courier)  Soaring prices due to speculation have also been a problem in San Francisco.  Author Mike Howell references a New York Times article in which Eric Mar states, “This is about stopping the crazy, insane housing crisis and rent increases in our city, and making sure we protect neighbourhoods that are being changed before our eyes every day. It won’t stop the flipping or the speculation, but it will be a strong message that displacement is wrong and we will fight for our communities.”  (The New York Times)

 

Only 3% of Vancouver residents think they have reasonable rents or mortgages: poll

High housing costs in Vancouver have made the city unaffordable for many residents.  A poll by the Vancouver sun reveals that many believe that their mortgages and rents are unreasonable.  The article also includes an interactive map of neighbourhood affordability in Metro Vancouver.  A second article reveals that 75% of neighbourhoods are too expensive for the incomes of its residents.  (The Vancouver Sun & The Vancouver Sun)  For more information on what each municpal party intends to do to tackle affordability in Vancouver, be sure to attend the Affordable Vancouver? debate hosted by the Housing Justice Project on October 23.  RSVP here.

 

This Week in Housing News: From Laneways to Census Data

Vancouver’s housing market was a focus of several news stories this week.  We can expect more in the coming weeks, as housing continues to be a pressing issue in the upcoming civic elections.  Check out the full stories below:


Laneway homes are Vancouver’s past, and future

Vancouver ‘s laneway homes are more than just a newly growing trend.  Read about the history of laneway homes dating all the way back to the Victorian era, when land owners short on money tried to maximize the use of their lots.  (The Globe & Mail)

 


Vancouver’s real estate boom: The rising price of ‘heaven’

There’s no question that Vancouver continue to experience a real estate boom in response to high demand from wealthy overseas investors.  This article discusses the unaffordability crisis that has resulted from the uncoupling of housing prices from local incomes, including plenty of data illustrating how the cost of housing has increased over time.  The authors also address the racial tensions present in discussions on this issue.  (The Globe & Mail: Report on Business)

 


Metro residents up in arms over high-density developments

Increasing density may be a necessary part of increasing the supply of housing in Metro Vancouver.  However, attempts by municipalities to do so have often faced public opposition, with many residents saying that the proposals are to extreme, and lacked public consultation.  Talking to both city officials and community leaders, the author also presents some densification success stories, such as Newport Village in Port Moody and Hastings Street in Burnaby’s Heights neighbourhood.  (The Vancouver Sun)

 


Eye-opening research stopped in its tracks

In this editorial, Carol Goar illustrates the concrete impact of the Harper government’s decision to scrap the long-form census by profiling David Hulchanski and his now-ineffective research on mapping urban poverty.  By looking at data from each census tract, Hulchanski was able to map out where people were experiencing poverty in Toronto, and thus where services should be located to be most helpful.  However, without reliable census data going forward, it has become impossible to collect this information, effectively freezing the insightful research.  The article also includes a link to research for Vancouver, applying the same methodology, written by Hulchanski with UBC Professor of Social Geography, David Ley.  (The Toronto Star)