Open letter: Party leaders urged to commit to increasing affordable rental housing supply

The Rental Housing Supply Coalition issued today (April 11) the following open letter:

April 11, 2011

Dear Federal Party Leaders,

The shortage of affordable rental housing has reached a critical level in Metro Vancouver, and is a pressing issue for many other cities and regions in the country. The Rental Housing Supply Coalition is a mix of private sector, public and non-profit organizations which have recently come together in the Metro Vancouver region to seek the cooperation of all levels of government in addressing a key piece of the affordable housing solution – rental housing.

It is estimated that there will be a demand for 6500 rental units per year in Metro Vancouver, with most of this demand coming from households with incomes of less than $45,000. Construction levels of purpose built rental housing have averaged only 600 units per year.

While secondary suites are filling some of the gap for low to moderate income households, many people rely on crowded or otherwise inappropriate housing due to affordability constraints. Rented condo suites also provide some supply, but only at the mid to upper end of the rental market. Neither of these alternative rental sources provides a permanent solution to the lack of rental supply.

A healthy rental market is necessary to retain working young people and families in the region, and to provide appropriate affordable accommodation for ageing seniors. The construction of more rental buildings will generate significant economic activity and provide long term benefits through the creation of both direct and indirect employment.

Creating new rental supply requires commitment from all levels of government. Therefore, will you commit to the following:

Ӣ Providing tax incentives and a taxation environment that stimulates the construction of, and investment in rental housing, such as reinstating the ability to defer capital gains tax upon reinvestment, accelerated depreciation, deducting losses against other income, and permitting GST/HST exemption

Ӣ Implementing a National Housing Plan that will bring together stakeholders and develop a road-map for increasing affordable rental housing supply

Ӣ Supporting the viability of non-profit and co-op housing construction through direct capital investment and long-term low-cost financing

Though based in BC, the Rental Housing Supply Coalition members have ties to national affiliates who recognize the importance of addressing rental housing. Housing is fundamental to the well-being of Canada and we look forward to hearing about your plans to address the need for affordable rental housing.

Yours truly,

The Rental Housing Supply Coalition

Mayor Wayne Wright
Chair, Metro Vancouver Housing Committee

Maureen Enser, Executive Director
Urban Development Institute

Marg Gordon, Executive Director
BC Apartment Owners and Managers Association

Karen Stone, Executive Director
BC Non-Profit Housing Association

Executive Director, Thom Armstrong
Co-op Housing Federation of BC

M.J. Whitemarsh
Canadian Home Builders’ Association of BC

Todd Senft, Chairman of the Board,
Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association

Robert K. Wallace, FCA, Chief Executive Officer
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

Martha J. Lewis, Executive Director
TRAC Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre

David Berge, Senior Vice President
VanCity Enterprises




Apr 12, 2011 at 12:51am

Canada is the only G8 country without a national social housing program.--@Rolf_Auer

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M. Bizon

Apr 12, 2011 at 4:45am

And what do the "major party leaders" (that includes you, Elizabeth May) say about the massive levels of third world immigration which Canada admits year after year?!?!?

Do they all plan on milking the reasonably productive year after year to try to make their Ponzi scheme work to provide "affordable housing" for everyone? (!)

You can either have a functioning public health care system, OR you can have massive third world immigration.

You can either have a social security system which helps out those in need OR you can have massive third world immigration.

You can either have a clean environment with a sustainable population OR you can have massive turd world immigration.

You can't have both.

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Kerry Sauriol

Apr 12, 2011 at 11:16am

The irony when MVHC wants to redevelop and sell low income properties such as Heather Place, is increasing the rents in their other lower income properties, yet apparently SPEAKS for the renter? Stop increasing the rents! Stop treating people like second class citizens. USE the MVHC for what it was originally intended for - and not sell for $$$

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Joseph Savage

Apr 16, 2011 at 9:56am

How can we be a G8 country yet have a child poverty rate at 25% ? How can we be paying on average 24% more than the U.S.? How can a not for profit crown corporation like ICBC record outrageous earnings yet not pass on the savings to its owners(the public) and yet give bonuses to its own employees? How can a man work overtime for nothing. All of this is greed and political corruption out in the open. How can a so called democracy outlaw or prohbit freedom of speech or even think of banning public gatherings? We've taken a wrong turn and to many violence may be the only option why play by the rules set out by the people who break there own rules? Will they call people like me wiothout any options or the money to place adds in media terrorsits? I am like you i am human, and i am sick of all the politicians, i am sick of corporations lining there pockets with the money that i should have. Aren't you????

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