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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)

Affordable Vancouver? A backgrounder on key issues

Affordable housing in Vancouver is complex, spanning topics from increasing density to accounting for LGBT needs, from taxing empty units to social housing.  So, what are the key issues?

In advance of the Affordable Vancouver? debate with City Council candidates on October 23, the Housing Justice Project has prepared a one-page backgrounder summarizing the key questions candidates should address on the matter.  Read and download the document below.

The Affordable Vancouver? debate takes place on Thursday, October 23.  All are invited to attend and ask questions to the candidates.  Please RSVP at the following link: http://bit.ly/YYJinN

Affordable Vancouver? Backgrounder

“It’s an ongoing problem.” Vancouver Head Planner Brian Jackson discusses affordable housing in the Vancouver Sun

City of Vancouver Head Planner Brian Jackson

Vancouver Head Planner Brian Jackson sat down for an interview with the Vancouver Sun, discussing topics from Community Amenity Contributions to developing affordable housing.  Jackson describes as the biggest issue facing the city.

“Affordable housing. It’s an ongoing problem. It’s not a new problem of trying to improve the affordability of housing for people who want to move to Vancouver and do it in such a way and to facilitate growth … that still protects the single-family neighbourhoods and the quality of life that we have here in Vancouver.”

The full article can be found at:  http://www.vancouversun.com/business/commercial-real-estate/Vancouver+head+planner+Brian+Jackson/10271033/story.html?__lsa=42d4-4546#ixzz3FkePHi6y

Affordable housing has repeatedly been identified as the biggest challenge facing our city.  To hear candidates for Vancouver City Council debate the issue, don’t forget to RSVP for the Affordable Vancouver? debate on Thursday, Octover 23.  More information can be found here: http://housingjustice.ca/affordable-vancouver-debate-with-city-council-candidates/

Affordable Vancouver? Debate with City Council Candidates

The UBC School of Community & Regional Planning and The Vancouver Sun are hosting a debate between candidates for Vancouver City Council, on the topic of affordable housing in Vancouver.  Candidates from each party will speak on their plan to tackle affordable housing, which has repeatedly been identified as one of the most important issues to Vancouverites.  Be sure to read our Affordable Vancouver? Backgrounder to gain an idea of the key questions.

Candidates will also answer questions posed by a panel of housing experts, as well as members of the public. The debate will be moderated by Penny Gurstein, Director of the UBC School of Community & Regional Planning.

All are welcome to attend!  The event will also be live-streamed online by the Vancouver Sun.  If you are attending the event, please RSVP at the following link:  http://bit.ly/YYJinN

Affordable Vancouver?

The candidates and panelists are as follows:

Candidates:
Cedar Party: Glen Chernen
COPE: Lisa Barrett
Green Party: Adriane Carr
NPA: Ian Robertson
OneCity: RJ Aquino
Vision: Geoff Meggs

Housing Panel:
Jill Atkey (BC Non-Profit Housing Association)
Jeff Lee (Vancouver Sun)
Patrick Condon (UBC School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture)
Lynn Harrison (Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association)