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Money B.C. 'well on way' to hit ambitious affordable housing target: Minister

08:50  18 november  2019
08:50  18 november  2019 Source:   vancouversun.com

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B . C . Housing Minister Selina Robinson delivers a keynote address at an affordable - housing conference in Vancouver on Sunday. The B . C . government is on track to hit its ambitious target of building 114,000 new homes of affordable housing over 10 years with the help of community

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a man on a stage in front of a computer screen: B.C. Housing Minister Selina Robinson delivers a keynote address at an affordable-housing conference in Vancouver on Sunday.© B.C. Non-Profit Housing Associat B.C. Housing Minister Selina Robinson delivers a keynote address at an affordable-housing conference in Vancouver on Sunday.

The B.C. government is on track to hit its ambitious target of building 114,000 new homes of affordable housing over 10 years with the help of community partners, but more work needs to be done, said the housing minister at an affordable-housing conference Sunday.

Addressing attendees of the three-day Housing Central conference at a downtown Vancouver hotel, Selina Robinson said 22,460 homes have been completed or are underway across B.C. as of August, with new buildings breaking ground every week.

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to - hit - ambitious - affordable - housing - target - minister /wcm/e668fe96-5212-4df1-8eab-5ee72044f16 c / … People who are working in or retired from B . C .’s performing arts and entertainment industry will soon have access to 66 affordable rental homes via a collaboration between the

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“We are well on our way of achieving our goal,” she said, adding 114,000 is a “big number.” “There is still so much more to do.”

The B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association analyzed the need across B.C. and came up with the target of 114,000 units, which include market-rental, non-profit, supported social housing and owner-purchase housing.

The provincial government has earmarked more than $7 billion over 10 years toward affordable housing, working in partnership with non-profits, private-sector developers, faith-based groups and other levels of government.

While her speech at the conference may have been rosy, it is also accurate, said Robinson after the session. She receives updates every quarter on the progress of the various projects across B.C. “We have a target and I’m tracking it very closely.”

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Out of the 22,460 homes, close to 3,300 have been completed, with 6,300 under construction and about 12,870 in the early development and approval process.

Getting projects from blueprint to opening doesn’t happen overnight, Robinson said. “We recognize we are in a bit of a bulge. We put our first call for housing so everything has to go through the planning sequence and that takes time.”

In the spring, B.C. Housing will kick off a new round of proposal calls for projects under the Indigenous-housing and community-housing funds for affordable rental homes for low- to moderate-income residents.

Because of the need to build more housing and fast, the government has made changes to the B.C. Building Code, allowing for wood buildings up to 12 storeys high, up from the previous six-storey maximum, said Robinson.

It’s also tracking vacancy rates in housing rental stocks and is trying to collect data on basement suites. It also now requires municipal governments to collect data for a housing-needs assessment every five years.

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The Prime Minister only takes ambitious steps, whether it is demonetisation, whether it is GST, whether it is insolvency law or it is any other thing. GST has been brought down from 12 to 8 percent for affordable housing . We are suggesting it should become 6 percent across the board and for all

“Mission Housing provides housing for families, seniors and special needs individuals. It also offers technical assistance to service providers to help them develop affordable housing that meets the needs of special populations, such as the physically or mentally handicapped, and the critically ill.”

Jill Atkey, CEO of the housing association, said she is confident the target of 114,000 new homes over a decade is achievable given there is co-operation between the three levels of government and community partners.

A challenge facing the non-profit industry is the lack of alignment of funding programs and schedules between the provincial and federal governments, which is holding up some projects, she said.

Pockets of community opposition against affordable-housing projects such as supportive housing or workforce rental housing are also delaying some projects.

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What Canadian cities can learn from L.A.'s affordable housing crisis .
Despite the glamour and hype that surrounds Los Angeles, the region faces numerous socio-economic challenges. L.A.’s congestion-ridden multi-lane freeways, for instance, have become the poster child of traffic problems in North America. A more significant concern is housing affordability, which affects no fewer than 1.9 million households in L.A. County. A recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute reviewed the housing affordability challenges in the L.A. region and proposed several interventions for ramping up housing supply to address the problem.

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