Our newly-elected Mayor and Councillors have been hard at work realizing their campaign promises. With jam-packed council meetings and member motions, issues like hiring police and nurses, defining anti-semitism, and stopping the road tax have taken the main stage. While the term is just beginning, the number one issue for Vancouverites is yet to be addressed––until now. This week we’re so excited to see our Mayor and Councillors stick to their commitments to make housing in Vancouver more affordable.
Back in September, Metro Elect’s survey showed Vancouver residents’ top priority is housing affordability at 38%, with homelessness a close second at 33%. We conducted our own engagement with residents who face barriers to political participation and frontline organizations who support them. It showed that housing is the biggest challenge, with 86% of respondents selecting housing & rent affordability as a reason why they believe Vancouver is not a city where they belong.
That community engagement formed the basis for eight policies in our Hot Pink Paper Campaign, which we asked candidates for Mayor and Council to commit to implementing if elected.
We took it a step further and asked our participants what needs to change to make things better. Residents told us that they want to see more non-market housing––everywhere, and fast. For this reason, our campaign asked candidates during the election:
“Will you commit to reducing barriers to providing non-market housing by delegating authority to city staff to approve non-profit, co-op, and social housing initiatives of up to 12 stories in multi-family areas, and up to six stories in other residential areas, without a rezoning requirement?”
Every member of the new ABC majority on Council, including Mayor Sim, publicly and enthusiastically said “yes” to this housing policy. The policy also mirrors elements of the Make Housing Central pledge from the BC Non-profit Housing Association (which endorsed this policy ask, alongside several other organizations). Every single member of the new Council committed to that pledge too.
Tomorrow, they’ll have the chance to make good on those commitments.
Passing Councilor Christine Boyle’s motion titled “Reducing Barriers and Deepening Affordability for Non-Profit, Co-op and Social Housing in Every Neighbourhood” aligns with our Hot Pink Paper ask. It will fast-track the non-market housing that we heard we need so loudly in our community engagement process.
The new ABC majority has an opportunity to demonstrate that they are accountable to promises made during the election campaign––particularly to commitments made to communities that are often not prioritized by City Hall. These communities have grown accustomed to being overlooked once elections are over, but the new Council has an opportunity to break that pattern by passing this motion. In doing so, they’ll enable more people to access the secure housing they need.
We know this motion isn’t a fix-all. The housing crisis is both complex and urgent––it needs to be addressed from every angle, including strengthening tenant protections, enforcing standards of maintenance, and significantly increasing investment in public housing at all levels of government. But we can’t wait for perfection; our waiting leaves people cold, vulnerable, and at risk.
Our elected officials must do everything they can so that everyone has a place to call home.
This motion is a quick win that was promised by a majority of Councilors. It’s one step that will make it easier to build more of the housing we need, faster.
So far, the ABC majority has been swift to take action on some of their more contentious campaign promises. We need them to apply the same urgency to the issue most Vancouverites agree is our most pressing challenge: the housing crisis.
We need them to follow through on commitments made to those who are often left out of politics, and we are excited to celebrate them doing so when they pass this motion.