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Retaining affordability in transit corridors

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart has introduced quite a few initiatives to make housing in the city more affordable. According to his latest press release, the City of Vancouver:

  • approved 8,834 new homes in 2021
  • raised the percentage of rental housing built from 25% to 52%
  • secured $1 billion in social housing investments from the private sector, provincial and federal governments
  • shifted 5,000 empty homes from speculators back into the long-term rental market through the Empty Homes Tax
  • approved a plan to allow homeowners to replace their single-family home with up to six stratified (condo) units
  • leases land to 57 co-operatives and plans to double the number of co-operatives on city land
  • dramatically increased compensation for renters who will be displaced–the longer the tenure, the larger the compensation must be–which has greatly decreased demovictions (Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy)

Kennedy’s latest promise includes attracting 50,000 new residents to the Broadway Corridor while the rapid transit line is being built, while introducing some of the strongest renter protections ever. His proposal includes paid relocation to a temporary rental with a top-up keeping interim rents the same, the right of first refusal to return to the new development; and rent at 20 percent below CMHC’s city-wide average rents. This is a far cry from the Cambie corridor, where even a very carefully crafted City plan for introducing new housing has resulted in demovictions.

Meanwhile, in Maine, the housing crisis is “spiralling out of control”: 20,000 affordable housing units are needed, 25,000 residents are on the waiting list for federal Section 8 vouchers, and 60% of renters spend half their income on housing. The state has made it easier for owners to build accessory dwelling units (secondary suites) on lots zoned for single-family homes, and extended the Maine Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program until 2030. The latter requires that at least 30% of the units produced through rehabilitation and development are affordable for the developer to be eligible for the tax credit.

And in Los Angeles, the North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit Corridor was finally approved. The 19-mile line will connect several high employment centers will open in 2024, and there are calls for a fund to help offset small business losses along the corridor during construction.


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