Low-cost housing: Metro Vancouver aims for equitable regional distribution of its rental properties

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      Metro Vancouver is one of the biggest providers of affordable housing in the region.

      It has 49 rental properties with a total of 3,400 low-cost housing units, where over 9,400 tenants live.

      However, the regional government’s housing portfolio can be found in only 11 out of the regional government’s 21 member municipalities.

      Through its wholy owned Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation, the federation of local governments is working to have a more equitable distribution of its properties across the Lower Mainland.

      The board of the MVHC is expected to endorse Friday (March 27) a set of criteria for the development of new affordable housing in the region.

      The list of considerations includes “regional equity”.

      This means that municipalities with little or no MVHC housing will get a higher score when it comes to regional equity.

      Laurel Cowan, program manager of housing planning and policy, wrote in a report included in the March 27 agenda of the MVHC board that “regional equity is a priority for new…housing”.

      The MVHC board is composed of the same elected local government officials comprising the Metro Vancouver board.

      The recommended list of criteria gives regional equity a score of 15.

      The other considerations are: development potential, score of 10; development readiness, 10; site readiness, 10; walkability, 10; access to transit, 10; opportunities to support relocation of tenants, 5; and municipal contribution to financial viability, 10.

      The criteria will be used to review submissions by member cities of municipally-owned lands that can be used for new Metro Vancouver housing.

      Metro Vancouver has committed $40 million for the development of more low-cost housing for a period of 10 years.

      The development wil be financed by a new $4 million tax requisition for housing, which starts in 2020.

      MVHC properties are found in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, City of North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, and Vancouver.