Vancouver mayor thrilled about federal housing investment, but former COPE candidate calls it "a drop in the bucket"

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      The federal government and the City of Vancouver have announced a quarter billion-dollar investment into housing in Canada's third-largest city.

      Ottawa will be investing up to $184 million into supporting 1,100 affordable housing units in Vancouver.

      According to Leonard Catling, senior officer of media relations at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, over half of this money will come in the form of low-cost loans.

      The National Housing Co-Investment Fund will provide $60.5 million in loans, as well as a direct contribution of $66 million. The Rental Construction Finance initiative will make available $53.5-million in loans, and the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund will directly contribute $3.82 million.

      The City of Vancouver will be contributing $96.6 million through grants, leases on city-owned land, and waivers of development cost levies.

      The money will support the development of nine previously announced affordable housing projects in downtown Vancouver.

      * 1001 Kingsway: a 57-unit co-op housing building.

      * 1210 Seymour Street and 560 Davie Street: a 148-unit affordable rental housing project.

      * 177 West Pender Street: 90 social housing units in the Downtown Eastside

      * 3310 Marine Way: a 337-unit mixed use building that will have half of its units reserved for Indigenous residents and the other half reserved for co-op housing.

      * 3279-3297 Vanness Avenue: a social housing building with 102 social housing units.

      * 1190 Burrard Street and 937 Davie Street: a 169-unit affordable rental housing building that will also include a new facility for the LBQTQ2S+ community centre QMUNITY.

      * 3183 and 3245 Pierview Crescent: a 140-unit co-op housing development.

      * 288 East Hastings: a 172-unit development consisting of 104 nonmarket housing units and 68 market housing units.

      * 2305-2355 Vanness Avenue: a proposed temporary modular housing facility that will contain "approximately 50 studio homes”, according to the City of Vancouver.

      This investment is part of the Trudeau government’s National Housing Strategy, a 10-year investment of $55 billion into developing and maintaining housing in Canada. One of the goals of the strategy is to reduce homelessness in Canada by 50 percent.

      Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart welcomed the investment.

      “The truth is that today people are struggling to stay in our city,” he said in an statement. “That’s why we’re building these kinds of partnerships to deliver the housing we need, so Vancouver becomes a city that works for everyone.”

      The announcement also received praise from Vancouver NPA councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung, who noted on Twitter that land prices and construction costs mean “social and affordable housing can’t be delivered without support from all levels of [government].”

      Other voices were more critical. Derrick O’Keefe, founding member of the Vancouver Tenants Union and council candidate with the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) in the 2018 Vancouver election, referred to the investment as “too little, too late”.

      Though he praised the addition of more federal funding, he believes it’s “nowhere near” the amount needed to address the city’s housing woes.

      You can read his tweets below.