Cory Raven | 604-220-9399

 

Half of Vancouver Olympic Village social housing may go to market-rate rentals

 
 
By Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun April 20, 2010

Photograph by: Ian Lindsay, Vancouver Sun

The City of Vancouver unveiled a plan Tuesday that would see taxpayers shell out an additional $32 million for affordable housing at the Olympic village and encourage key public service workers to rent there.

The city said it would stick to its original plans for affordable housing at the site, splitting it between low-income and those able to pay market-rate rents.

According to a staff report released Tuesday and endorsed by Mayor Gregor Robertson, the city would encourage police officers, firefighters, nurses and other public service employees to move into the market-rate units, which would cost $1,600 to $2,400 per month.

Those rents, along with the new $32-million subsidy from city coffers, would pay for the low-income units.

Many details of the proposal, which goes to city council for a decision Thursday, have not yet been worked out, including how people would be chosen for the market-rate units.

The plan arose as the city struggled to meet its promise to build 252 units of affordable housing in the Olympic village in the wake of massive cost increases as the project was being built.

Without the proposal, the city wouldn't have been able to stick to its promise of providing 20 per cent affordable housing in the 1,108-unit neighbourhood.

The city even considered selling the units at market rates and using the money to build social housing elsewhere.

Housing activists charged the plan is a betrayal of a promise to the International Olympic Committee that all of the units would be used for "non-market housing."

Laura Stannard, a spokeswoman for Citywide Affordable Housing, said allowing half the units to be rented at full market rental rates of up to $2,398 per month doesn't constitute affordable housing.

She expected that all 252 units would go to housing people who have no prospect of paying market rents.

"The definition of non-market housing is that it requires a subsidy. If you are renting out units at market rates, that's not a subsidy and that isn't non-market," she said.

Robertson, however, said the city has always endorsed a mixed-income program for affordable housing across the city and that it had never considered devoting all the units to "core need" housing for the poor.

That view was backed up by city staff who said council policies dictate that affordable housing units are to be a mixture of market rental, low-income and core-need housing with rents at below market rates.

Robertson also said a staff recommendation to give the market-rate rentals to police, fire and health and local employees is "intriguing." He said many are forced to live outside the city because they can't find affordable housing.

Some councillors said they wanted more social housing.

Councillor Ellen Woodsworth said she always believed all of the units should be used for housing the needy. "We are in the midst of the worst homelessness crisis in the city's history and we should be using these units to help solve that," she said.

But Councillor Kerry Jang said he supports the idea of targeting the higher-end units toward public safety employees.

Recent figures suggest just 10 per cent of the city's firefighters and police can afford to live within city boundaries. By offering them preferred rental housing, more will be available in the case of disaster response, he said.

The social housing units are part of the financially troubled Millennium Water development on the south shore of False Creek, of which the vast majority are strata-title condominiums. A total of 737 are private for-sale units. Millennium is also providing 129 rental units, although these are separate from the city's proposed 126 market rent apartments.

The city is also the financial backer of the Millennium project and is owed about $969 million. It expects to get that money back, with interest, as Millennium sells its condominiums for a profit.

The entire project was hit by a combination of problems, including a hot construction market, an expedited time frame for the Olympics and the worldwide economic collapse in 2008.

The proposal going to council suggests taking $32.1 million from various city sources to help bridge a $78-million gap between the $110-million cost of the affordable housing program and the $32-million it has in hand from the Vancouver Organizing Committee and special levies.

The additional funds would allow the city to take out a $45.9-million mortgage, which would be paid down through the market-rate rents.

The city hopes to negotiate a funding agreement with the B.C. Housing Ministry for the low-income renters.

Council will debate the proposal on Thursday.

In a report issued at a background briefing Tuesday, staff said they are recommending the option that would see market rental rates of between $1,601 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,368 for a four-bedroom unit per month. At the other end of the spectrum, core-needy rents would be $612 to $962 per month. The market rents would be structured to cover a $45.9 million mortgage.

The proposed deal is similar to other mixed-income housing initiatives the city has elsewhere, including the south side of False Creek between the Cambie and Granville bridges.

The city says the cash injection in the city's equity in the social housing component would be taken from a number of existing city sources, including just under half from savings found in current and future capital plan budgets.

 
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
Post CommentComments: 0Read Full Story
The stats can be found here , attached as a PDF file.
Post CommentComments: 0Read Full Story
Property Photo: 2245 154A ST in Surrey
Please visit our Open House at 2245 154A ST in Surrey.
Open House on Saturday, April 10, 2010 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Centrally located on a quiet street, this home has a lot to offer. Great yard, open plan, and totally renovated. Come see this open Cape Cod floor plan. The home is perfect for a young family or retired couples. Shows like a 10!
Read Full Story
Property Photo: 503 1680 4TH AVE W in Vancouver
I have listed a new property at 503 1680 4TH AVE W in Vancouver.
MANTRA - Cressey's latest work. Ideally located steps to shopping and restaurants along W. 4th Ave. South Granville and Granville Island. The views face south with trees and sun. Boasting a spacious kitchen with Kitchen Aid ArchitecturalSeries including GAS cooking and wine fridge along with glass tile backsplash, stone counters and a huge pantry storage. This geothermal/air conditioned and concrete home has the perfect floor plan with large living and dining areas, insuite laundry and storage rooms, built in entertainment niche, and designer bathrooms. Great common area, gym and huge patio. Open Sat & Sunday 1-4.
Read Full Story

Average price of Metro Vancouver home now almost $663,000, above pre-recession levels 

 
Post CommentComments: 0Read Full Story
Categories:  | Bentall | Blog | Buyer's Market | Cameron Mcneill | Central BN, Burnaby North Real Estate | Central Pt Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam | Clayton, Cloverdale | Coal Harbour | Coal Harbour, Vancouver West | condos | Cory Raven | Downtown NW | Downtown NW, New Westminster | Downtown VW | Downtown VW, Vancouver West | Downtown VW, Vancouver West Real Estate | Fairview VW, Vancouver West | False Creek North | False Creek North, Vancouver West | False Creek, Vancouver West | False Creek, Vancouver West Real Estate | Guildford, North Surrey Real Estate | Hamilton RI, Richmond | Hamilton, North Vancouver | Highgate, Burnaby South | Highgate, Burnaby South Real Estate | King George Corridor, South Surrey White Rock | King George Corridor, South Surrey White Rock Real Estate | Kits | Kitsilano | Lower Lonsdale, North Vancouver | MAC | MAC Marketing Solutions | Main, Vancouver East | Market Trendz | Market Trendzs | Market TrendzsPanorama Ridge | Marpole | Marpole, Vancouver West | Mortgage | Mortgage Rates | Mount Pleasant VW | Mount Pleasant VW, Vancouver West | New Westminster | Panorama Ridge, Surrey Real Estate | Prime Property | Queensborough | Queensborough, New Westminster Real Estate | Raven's Real Deal | Raven's Real Deals | Re | Real Deal | Real Estate | Rennie Marketing | Sunshine Hills Woods, N. Delta Real Estate | Surrey Real Estate | TAC real estate | Technology | Twitter | Vancouver | Vancouver Bubble? | Vancouver listings | Vancouver Real Estate | Vancouver West | Vancouver West Real Estate | West End VW | West End VW, Vancouver West | West End VW, Vancouver West Real Estate | Westend
Please excuse the mess while I upgrade my website.  In the meantime, you may access all my blog posts by clicking here.
Please excuse the mess while I upgrade my website to provide you with even more timely and topical information on our market and the process of buying and selling.  In the meantime, you can access my blog by clicking here
Cory Raven
Telephone:604-220-9399
Cory Raven - Managing Broker
RE/MAX Select Realty
4806 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3R8