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Final Report from the Mayor's Task Force on Housing Affordability

Final Report from the Mayor's Task Force on Housing Affordability

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Published by The Vancouver Sun

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Published by: The Vancouver Sun on Sep 27, 2012
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Report Date: September 25, 2012Contact: David McLellanContact No.: 604.871.6939RTS No.: 9762VanRIMS No.: 08-2000-20Meeting Date:October 2, 2012TO: Vancouver City CouncilFROM: Deputy City ManagerSUBJECT: Final Report from the Mayor's Task Force on Housing Affordability
THAT Council receive the final report from the Mayor’s Task Force on HousingAffordability (
Bold Ideas Towards an Affordable Cit
), including the results ofthe re:THINK HOUSING competition and the web-based Place Speak surveyattached as Appendix B, and thank the members of the Task Force for theirwork.B.
THAT Council direct staff to implement the action plan in Appendix A, includingimmediate action to undertake a business plan and feasibility study for a CityHousing Authority. C.
THAT Council direct staff to begin immediate implementation of Action 1,providing an interim rezoning policy that allows for consideration of rezoningapplications immediately in certain specific existing residential or mixed useareas (not industrial, office or mixed employment areas) as outlined in 1.2below.
This Council report presents the final report from the Mayor’s Task Force of HousingAffordability (
Bold Ideas Towards an Affordable Cit
) for Council consideration, whichincludes a summary of the results of the re:THINK HOUSING competition and the web-based Place Speak survey. This staff report also seeks Council direction to implementthe priority City actions identified in the body of the report and in the attachedpriority action plan (Appendix A).
Final Report from Mayor's Task Force on Housing Affordability - 9762 2
Council passed a resolution to establish a Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordabilityin December 2011, which was to provide recommendations to Mayor and Council forpriority actions that may be taken by the City to create low-income housing,affordable rental housing, and affordable home ownership.
The Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability has been a vital initiative that willassist the City in developing solutions to one of our most significant challenges. Manyhours of inquiry and discussion, plus the years of experience of Task Force members,have produced a notable report that has many good recommendations for Council. Thisreport seeks Council direction to prioritize the actions the City will take in response tothe Task Force report, ensuring that staff can focus their attention and resources mosteffectively in implementation.
REPORT Background/Context 
The City of Vancouver’s core mission is “to create a great city of communities which caresabout its people, its environment and the opportunities to live, work and prosper.”Challenges with housing affordability and homelessness have emerged as significant barriersto achieving this mission. Over the past several years, Council has made rapid progress inaddressing these challenges, particularly in reducing street homelessness and encouraging thesupply of affordable market rental housing.In July 2011, the City’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy was adopted, outlining actions toaddress housing affordability across the housing continuum. The Strategy included two keygoals:1.
End Street Homelessness by 20152.
Increase affordable housing choices for all VancouveritesIn December 2011, Council passed a resolution to create the Mayor’s Task Force on HousingAffordability. The mandate of the Task Force was to examine conditions that exist inVancouver which may act as barriers to the creation of affordable housing, the stepsnecessary to protect existing affordable housing, and to identify opportunities for increasingthe supply of affordable housing. The Task Force sought to:
Develop innovative recommendations from an evidence-base that will help Vancouverbecome a more sustainable, diverse, and affordable city
Focus on affordability solutions for those households with moderate incomes (whichcurrently range from $21,500 to $86,500)In June 2012, following several months of research, analysis, facilitated discussion and inputfrom various sources, the Task Force published an Interim Report. The Interim Report outlinedfour key recommendations for Council, housing stakeholders and the public to consider:
Final Report from Mayor's Task Force on Housing Affordability - 9762 3
Increase the supply and diversity of housing;
Enhance the City’s and the community’s capacity to deliver affordable rental andsocial housing;
Protect the existing social and affordable rental stock, and explore opportunities torenew and expand that stock; and,
Streamline and create more certainty and clarity in the regulation process, andimprove public engagement.Following the publications of its Interim Report, the Task Force considered public feedback onthe report through a variety of strategies including:
The re:THINK HOUSING ideas competition
A web-based Place Speak survey of the community on the recommendations in thereportThe final report from the Task Force, attached as Appendix B, incorporates several of theideas generated through the public engagement. In particular, two concepts that werepopular with the public and the Task Force jury that judged the re:THINK competition areincluded in this Council report as priority actions (Thin Streets and Co-Housing). A summary ofthe re:THINK HOUSING ideas competition and of the Place Speak survey are included in theTask Force final report.
Strategic Analysis 
The final report of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability proposes four primaryrecommendations, each with several implementation actions and approaches associated withthem. Some of the recommendations suggest relatively minor changes that will enable thedelivery of greater housing diversity and affordability, while others propose fundamentalchanges to the way the City does business. Some recommendations are relatively quick andstraightforward to implement, while others are complex and will unfold over a period ofseveral years.Staff recommends that Council consider and accept the final report from the Task Force. Staffalso seek Council direction to implement the priority action plan included as Appendix A. Thefollowing sections present the final recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force, followed bythe priority actions the City will take to implement them, pending Council approval.
Recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability
This section outlines the four high level recommendations of the Task Force, excerpted fromits Final Report. These recommendations remain largely unchanged from the Interim Report ofthe Task Force, which received generally positive public feedback.
Task Force Recommendation 1: Increase supply and diversity of affordable housing
Density increases in appropriate locations create important opportunities to enhancehousing affordability and diversity. The City should accelerate planning programs thatincrease density in large developments (e.g. Marine Gateway, South East False Creek,

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