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Affordable Rental Housing

DVBIA supports workforce housing in Vancouver

With Vancouver’s residential vacancy rate holding steady at less than 1%, the Downtown Vancouver BIA resolved last year to actively support City of Vancouver workforce housing initiatives that would increase rental supply so that people who work downtown can live close to their jobs. Not only does it improve quality of life, it’s also good for the environment, and makes downtown a more attractive, affordable place to work.

One such program is the City of Vancouver’s Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP). So far, the City has approved four projects, totalling 321 rental units, of which 63 are set aside for moderate income earners. More are in the queue, with a target of bringing 20 of these projects to rezoning.

MIRHPP is designed to encourage delivery of rental buildings with 20% of the residential floor area made available to moderate income households earning between $30,000 and $80,000. Targeted rents in these units will range between $950 for a studio to $2,000 for a 3-bedroom. The pilot program is scheduled to run through January 1, 2021.

With more people moving to Metro Vancouver, more housing at all income levels is needed. MIRHPP is particularly important for keeping Vancouver an affordable place to live for the “missing middle”— such as key members of the workforce like nurses and teachers—and for small business employees who help keep downtown Vancouver a community as well as a destination.

The proposed 2538 Birch Street building (at Broadway), which will be coming forward for approval in the coming months, would provide 248 new units of rental housing, including 53 moderate income units. This building was already approved as a 17-storey market rental and is now being considered under MIRHPP to add moderate income units by increasing the height to 28 storeys.

Projects like these need support from all corners of Vancouver: residents, small and large businesses and organizations like ours. We want to ensure that Mayor and Council continue to support and prioritize important policies like this to address our rental housing crisis, and encourage our members to find out more and join us in advocating for more and better workforce housing.

To join a mailing list and receive information on housing projects that you can help support, please email the DVBIA’s Manager of Economic Development, Gavin Duffus, at gavinn@dtvan.ca

To find out more about the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program click here: https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/mirhpp-public-faqs.pdf.

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