May 17, 2016 NPA

NPA City Councillors call on the Mayor and Vision Vancouver to do more to tackle Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis

Increased pressures on young families and millennials are making it harder for middle class residents to continue to call Vancouver home

Vancouver, B.C., May 17, 2016 – NPA City Councillors are calling on the Mayor and Vision Vancouver to do more to tackle Vancouver’s housing affordability crisis following a staff report presented today at Council.

According to the report, Vancouver has the highest housing prices and rents, but the lowest median incomes among Canada’s major cities. The report also states that “affordability challenges” have become more prevalent since 2011, despite the efforts of the City, and that it has become even harder for residents to find and maintain affordable housing in Vancouver.

“The Mayor and Vision are attempting to give themselves an ‘A’ with this housing report card, but Vancouverites know housing affordability and access to rental units has gotten worse, not better, over the last eight years,” said NPA Councillor George Affleck. “The City needs to reassess its housing policies because those policies aren’t working, especially when it comes to encouraging the creation of housing – including rentals – families and middle class Vancouverites can afford.”

A recent study by VanCity highlighted the high cost of living in Vancouver and the impact it is having on millennials in particular. The study shows that the wages of Vancouver millennials have stagnated to the point where their average household income is now the second lowest in Canada.

“It’s become clear that affordability in Vancouver is about more than just home prices, it’s also about creating economic opportunities,” said Affleck. “City Hall needs to focus on attracting jobs that will let young Vancouverites stay in the city and ensure that Vancouver remains a vibrant city.”

According to real estate records, the benchmark price for detached homes in April 2016 rose 30.1 percent from just a year ago to a new high of $1.4 million. April 2016 was also the highest selling April on record for homes in Metro Vancouver.

“Vancouver is one of the best places in the world to call home,” continued Affleck. “But if current housing and employment trends continue, living in our beautiful city will become increasingly out of reach for the average family. Vancouverites deserve an opportunity to work hard, provide for their families and stay in this great city. Vision is making that impossible.”

The staff report presented at Council today notes that “affordable housing” for Vancouver families must be of sufficient quality, with the right number of bedrooms to meet the needs of residents, and be found within neighbourhood locations that have access to transit, schools, childcare, as well as cultural and community centres.

The staff report goes on to state that “Attracting and retaining families is an important part [of] being a healthy, diverse and economically vibrant city,” and that many Vancouver families “still aspire to the Canadian dream of owning a home.”

NPA Councillor Melissa De Genova’s recent call for an Affordable Home Ownership Program was also noted in the report, along with Council’s support for an Affordable Home Ownership pilot program: “I was pleased that City Council supported for my Affordable Home Ownership motion last June. Hopefully it will lead to the creation of new housing stock in Vancouver that everyday families will be able to afford, while being respectful of taxpayer dollars,” said De Genova. “The NPA is committed to finding innovative, market based solutions to the affordability issue in Vancouver, and we hope our colleagues on Council will join us in making real affordability for families a priority.”

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Media please email media@npavancouver.ca

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