VANCOUVER Mayor Kennedy Stewart on Wednesday announced he is seeking Council approval for “Making Home” — a “bold” plan to build up to 10,000 new homes the middle class can afford in single-detached neighbourhoods across the city.
The plan limits speculation while using land value capture to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to fight homelessness, build affordable rental, repair infrastructure, expand childcare, and accelerate the Climate Emergency Action Plan.
“Making Home is a housing, economic, and climate change plan that works for all of us,” said Stewart. “It allows thousands of young, middle-class or new Canadian families to buy their first home, while investing in rental homes for working people and those without a home at all.”
Starting with 2,000 lots, the program would allow up to six ground-oriented units on a single lot where now only detached housing is currently allowed. Existing owners who don’t want to leave the neighbourhood they love could use the program to downsize. Owners could convert or redevelop their large, single-detached house into multiple stratified homes – keeping one for themselves or other family members, and selling the remaining homes.
Homes could also be built by a collection of friends for themselves and their families, or by small builders looking to expand housing choice in Vancouver. The plan would see homes affordable to households earning less than $80,000 built on site or across the city through land-value capture mechanisms.
“This flexible program eliminates the majority of speculation while guaranteeing the entire city benefits from increasing land values,” said Stewart. “Right now, new luxury single-detached homes across more than 60 percent of our city contribute few public benefits despite enormous prices – Making Home changes that.”
Making Home will generate up to 10,000 new homes across the city for middle class families to buy, along with hundreds of millions of dollars through land-value capture tools to fund affordable home construction for those making less than $80,000 a year. From new modular supportive housing for those facing homelessness, to affordable rental housing for working people, Making Home is a housing plan for everyone.
Making Home would create thousands of new direct and indirect jobs through the construction of up to 10,000 new middle-class homes across Vancouver.
Moreover, it would leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to build below-market housing, repair ageing infrastructure, expand childcare, and create new community amenities that would generate even more economic activity, as we continue our recovery from COVID-19.
Making Home would help us fund and accelerate Vancouver’s world-leading Climate Emergency Action Plan in a way that is fair and equitable. From hundreds of EV chargers to new bus lanes, the plan would help fund actions that help us meet our emissions reduction targets.
What’s more, moving to more compact building forms can significantly reduce our per-capita carbon footprint. A 2019 UN report noted that emissions from building materials could be reduced by over 50 percent and energy demand lowered by up to 20 percent.
Finally, walkable communities mean fewer people driving long distances into Vancouver for work, reducing carbon emissions from vehicle use and reducing congestion.
“For too long, Council after Council over the past two decades has stood by while Vancouver’s middle class and working families were priced out of our housing market,” said Stewart. “It’s time for us to take bold action. Making Home is our path forward to a city that is more affordable, equitable, vibrant, and sustainable. It’s a blueprint to building a Vancouver that works for all of us.”
Marianne Amodio Architect AIBC, MA+HG Architects Inc., said: “For the past fifteen years, MA+HG Architects have been promoting innovation in architecture that helps to create diverse communities of resilience and beauty. We welcome the removal of any discriminatory zoning or obstructive policy; we view this motion as an invitation to create an architecture that is creative, ground-oriented, human-scaled and welcoming to all.”
Jake Fry, Chair, Small Housing BC, said: “This proposal would create not only permanently affordable home ownership but would also do so in a manner that preserves and reinvigorates existing neighbourhoods, while directly benefiting the families that are the fabric of those neighbourhoods.”
Thomas Davidoff, Director, UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, said: “This is an excellent plan that I wholeheartedly support. There is no better way to ensure that low-income residents benefit from redevelopment in RS zones than to generate cash to fund benefits and social housing choices. Opening RS to wider housing choice will mean that more households get to live in Vancouver. That means that prices and rents for apartments and townhomes will fall.
“This program will widen housing choice, make Vancouver a greener city, and will likely generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year that can be used to help those struggling with affordability. This is a great motion on economic, social, and environmental grounds.”