Affordability will be part of every development with new city housing strategy

Every new development, regardless of size or type, will have to contribute to housing affordability, says chief city planner Gil Kelley, a measure of how significant the city’s emerging new policies are.

Under Housing Vancouver “emerging directions” approved by council today, the city will shift its housing targets to deliver units directly to meet the needs of all city residents by income group.

Until now, the city could deliver a few units — depending on provincial support — to social housing, but far fewer than required. Incentives to generate market rental are producing more than 1,000 units a year for households earning over $50,000 a year. (See the staff presentation here.)

But the “missing middle” earning below that number, or even more, are not getting relief despite the large number of new units being built each year.

Business as usual would produce a dramatic oversupply of 10,000 market condominiums, but leave unmet demand equally large for affordable rental. We have plenty of supply — but not the right supply.

The “housing reset,” as it has become known, is intended to change that.

When final policy options come to council in July, Kelley and the rest of the city team will be proposing important new initiatives to require affordability across the housing spectrum.

In this crisis, no one can sit on the sidelines. The new approach is designed to make sure that practice ends.