Plans for a new affordable rental housing development in Maple Ridge. (Black Press Media files)

10,000 affordable rentals a year needed to tackle Metro Vancouver housing crisis: report

The report focused on building government-funded housing, rather than relying on the private sector

An additional 10,000 affordable rental units need to be built around Metro Vancouver annually to begin fixing the housing crisis in the region, according to a report released Wednesday by the Canadian Centre on Policy Alternatives.

The report focused on building government-funded housing, rather than relying on the private sector.

“A lot of the focus on housing has been around private-built housing with homeownership as the goal,” senior economist Marc Lee told Black Press Media by phone.

But the people who need housing the most, Lee said, are low- or middle-income tenants who are not profitable for private builders.

Compounding the issue, he noted, is that although Metro Vancouver’s population has risen over the years, rental housing has not kept pace.

Between immigration and more people being pushed out of homeownership, “there’s a lot more competition for the same number of rental,” Lee said.

The report found that 10,000 new affordable rental units need to be built each year, at a cost of about $2.5 billion, in order to keep pace with population growth.

“There’s such a backlog [of people needing housing], so this is just to tread water,” Lee said.

“If we want to deal with the backlog or address homelessness, we need to go above and beyond that.”

The report acknowledges that $2.5 billion each year is a marked increase above the province’s average yearly capital budget of $10 billion.

Lee said the feds would need to step in as well, but points out that $2.5 billion cost would be made back by charging even low rents to tenants.

The report said that with a one bedroom apartment costing $180,000 to build, the public would earn back $216,000 over 30 years on that unit even with a subsidized rent of $600 per month.

Lee acknowledged that while the financials may work out, public opinion could be harder to sway.

“The challenge is going to be how this plays out on a neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood basis,” he said, citing opposition to modular housing in Vancouver and Surrey, as well as recently announced low-income housing for displaced tent city residents in Maple Ridge.

“It’s more about the conversation we need to have; we have a crisis and right now it’s leaving people on the streets and camping in parks.”

READ MORE: Rent as low as $375 per month at new Maple Ridge affordable housing complex

VIDEOS: Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey Mounties arrest man trapped in cell phone repair shop

Man arrested as police respond to report of break-in in Guildford

Humboldt Broncos’ Straschnitzki in Surrey to play sledge hockey with Wickenheiser

Friendly game on Feb. 1 part of the Wickfest female hockey event in North Surrey

LETTER: Surrey mayor made me uncomfortable by bashing reliable ‘Now-Leader’

During a recent phone call, McCallum talked a lot about himself before disparaging newspapers

Two rescued from distressed boat in Boundary Bay

Marine rescue crews and police tasked out Monday evening

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

University of Victoria tells stories of Holocaust survivors with graphic novels

International storytelling initiative launched first meetings this winter

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Most Read