Housing prices in Vancouver, in particular in the downtown core, are outpacing income of working professionals such that many residents and downtown business owners can not afford to buy a house. Similarly, rental costs exceed affordability for many lower to middle income families. Does this matter to you? What specific policies or strategies can City Council bring to bear to address this issue?
Housing is a critical issue for us, and we need to get this one right as our city enters a phase of growth. The most pressing concern with housing is a lack of rental housing. A larger inventory of rental housing will bring prices down and provide more options for our citizens in transition. To provide affordable homeownership, the city must attack the problem from both ends. The Vancouver Housing Authority can be leveraged for grant-funded housing, and we need to support partnerships with private developers to support market rate housing.
This is an issue that needs to be managed with the long-term in mind. We must create plans to support our inevitable growth while protecting and even improving our quality of life. Sprawl development is not a good option. I’ve looked at other cities around our country and around the world, and I believe we can learn from the best examples as we shape the future of our city. Our city staff and community leaders need to participate in studies and discussions about how we can increase density in existing neighborhoods without damaging their character. I’m excited about the option of creating Urban Villages where increased density comes with great infrastructure, like complete streets, public squares and green spaces.
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