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

Tax hikes possible in Township as budget talks begin

Just “keeping the lights on” could cost 4.12 per cent in tax increases

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

Langleyites get their say about proposed community gardens at Rotary Centennial Park

38 plots and an additional eight garden spaces have been put forth for Langley City park

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants burned by Kamloops Blazers

Home ice loss sees Kamloops extend winning streak to eight

Update: Burned-up vehicle in Langley residential neighbourhood linked to Burnaby murder

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) issues appeal for witnesses

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Convicted Fraser Valley con man facing 39 charges in Vancouver area

Donald Quinnell got four years prison in 2015, again facing fraud, theft, stolen credit card charges

Police seize nearly 50 kilos of drugs in Surrey

Police say this has taken perhaps millions of deadly doses of fentanyl and other drugs off the streets

Young child seriously injured in suspected drunk driving crash in Delta

“This needs to stop,” says Insp. Ciaran Feenan, head of the Delta Police Department’s patrol section

Elderly man in serious condition after being hit by bus in Burnaby

RCMP believe man, 82, was not at a crosswalk at the time

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Most Read