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Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy

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The City of Vancouver is working to increase the choices for affordable housing in Vancouver.

This includes creating new affordable housing options for students, young families, and seniors through a new Affordable Housing Choices Policy.

Did you know?

  • More than half of the City’s residents rent, and Vancouver's vacancy rate continues to be the lowest in Canada.
  • More than 30% of households in Vancouver pay more than 30% of their monthly income for housing costs.

Policy goals

The goals of the Affordable Housing Choices Policy are to encourage housing developments that include a strong level of affordability, and:

  • Offer 100% rental units, or sold at 20% below market value
  • Are up to six storeys high on an arterial street (served by transit), or three-and-a-half storeys high within 100 m of an arterial street

A maximum of 20 rezoning applications will be considered throughout the city prior to reevaluation by Council. Only two projects are permitted within 10 blocks of each other on any arterial street.

Make a rezoning enquiry

Affordable Home Ownership Pilot Program goals approved in principle by Council

April 20, 2016 – City Council approved in principle the goals of an Affordable Home Ownership pilot program with the objective to enable qualifying households who live and work in Vancouver to transition from rental to affordable ownership. Council will request the Province to amend the Vancouver Charter to authorize Council to implement affordable home ownership programs generally. Council further directed staff to undertake consultation with employers, the development industry, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the broader public prior to reporting back on an Affordable Home Ownership pilot program for adoption.

It is anticipated that the pilot program will provide clarification on project locations and alignment with the goals of the Affordable Housing Choices Policy. No changes have been made to the Affordable Housing Choices Policy at this time.  

Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy approved by Council

October 3, 2012 – City Council approved the Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy, aimed at encouraging innovation and enabling real examples of affordable housing choices on major streets related to transit. Council directed staff to seek feedback on the policy, asking for presentations to all citizen advisory committees, distribution to all neighbourhood advisory groups, and a reconvening of the Talk Housing to Us Renters' Roundtable.

Documents related to this initiative

Council reports

City Council has approved in principle the goals of an Affordable Home Ownership pilot program. Read the Council report detailing the research and analysis taken to develop these principles. A detailed pilot program will be brought forward to Council for adoption following public consultation.

Policies and guidelines

View the policies and guidelines related to this initiative:

The City of Vancouver is working to increase and protect affordable housing in Vancouver.

The goal of the Affordable Housing Choices Policy is to create new affordable housing options for students, young families, and seniors.

All applications under the new Affordable Housing Choices Policy must go through the City's official rezoning process.

This includes:

  • Neighbourhood notification
  • The chance to submit comments and concerns to staff
  • A staff report to Council
  • A public hearing for people to speak before Council makes a decision

Criteria for consideration

Rezoning applications will be considered when the following criteria regarding affordability and form of development are met:

Affordability

Projects must demonstrate an enhanced level of affordability beyond that provided through the delivery of a generally more affordable housing type alone. Projects that would be considered are:

  • Where 100% of the residential floor space is rental housing
  • Where units are sold for at least 20% below market value, and include a secure mechanism for maintaining that level of affordability over time
  • Innovative housing models and forms of tenure such as co-housing, when they can demonstrate enhanced affordability as determined by the City
  • Where a Community Land Trust model is used to secure increasing affordability over time

Form of development and location

Proposals are subject to urban design performance (including consideration of shadow analysis, view impacts, frontage length, building massing, setbacks, and so on), and demonstration of a degree of community support. Projects that would be considered are:

  • Ground-oriented forms up to a maximum of 3½ storeys – such as small houses and duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses, and courtyard row houses – within approximately 100 metres of an arterial street (about 1½ blocks)
  • Mid-rise forms up to a maximum of 6 storeys that front on arterials well seved by transit and are within 500 metres (a five-minute walk) of identified neighbourhood centres and local shopping areas

This policy applies to all areas of the city except those that have recently adopted community plans or are currently undergoing community planning. It also does not apply to industrial areas or to zoning districts which already permit building heights greater than six storeys (except that projects already under consideration in these districts on April 20, 2016 will continue to be considered).

City areas where applications will be considered

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Map for illustration purposes only.

Other work related to affordable housing

The City is working hard to deliver its Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2012-2021, including:

  • Over 600 units of social housing and over 100 units of supportive housing are in progress
  • Over 700 units of secure market rental housing are in construction or completed
  • Reporting annually to Council on progress
  • Worked with partners to open a Rent Bank to provide loans to renters in temporary financial crisis
  • Working on creating an affordable Housing Authority to deliver a steady supply of new social housing on City-owned land

Related initiatives

Housing Vancouver strategy

Our new 10-year strategy will address housing affordability and the supply of 72,000 homes that our residents need.

Housing committee

Mayor's Task Force on Housing Affordability

The Task Force recommended bold and practical ways to improve housing affordability for low- to moderate-income households.