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Consultations start on future of housing supply, affordability

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 4:29 PST, Wed January 22, 2020

Last Updated: 4:03 PST, Wed February 12, 2020

Consultations are underway to identify measures that could build on government investments and initiatives already underway to help more people find affordable housing in British Columbia.

In September 2019, the governments of Canada and B.C. created the Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability.

The panel has begun consultations to seek feedback and ideas from experts, academics, researchers, urban planners, urban economists, municipal housing policy-makers and members of the public who are familiar with the housing challenges in B.C. and similar high-priced housing markets around the world.

“People who are making a decent income, whether renting or wanting to purchase a home, can’t find accommodation that’s affordable in the urban centres of British Columbia,” said Joy MacPhail, chair, Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability. “The panel has set up a website in order to get input from a diverse and robust cross-section of British Columbians who can provide insight and suggest solutions to address the issues of supply of affordable housing.”

Experts, organizations and citizens are invited to share ideas on ways to address housing challenges in British Columbia. The consultations will be open until April 3, 2020.

The panel will post an interim report of its findings from these consultations on its website in summer 2020, and provide a final report to the federal and provincial governments by the end of 2020.

Quick Facts:

  • The members of the panel are leaders and specialists in a wide range of fields. They will identify additional measures that federal and provincial governments, and possibly municipal governments, non-governmental organizations and other actors in housing markets, could undertake to improve supply and affordability in B.C.’s high-priced housing markets.
  • Since 2017, the B.C. government has taken a number of steps to tackle the housing crisis and deliver the affordable homes British Columbians need, including the largest investment in housing affordability in B.C.’s history — $7 billion over 10 years.
  • Through a 30-point housing plan launched in 2018, the provincial government is working with partners to deliver 114,000 affordable homes over 10 years. The plan has introduced new measures aimed at curbing speculative demand that has driven up the cost of living.
  • To help more Canadians access affordable housing that meets their needs, the Government of Canada launched the National Housing Strategy — a 10-year, more than $55-billion plan designed to build 125,000 new affordable housing units, repair 300,000 others and reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent.
  • The federal government has taken concrete steps to make homeownership more affordable for first-time buyers by implementing a first-time home buyer incentive, a shared-equity mortgage program that would reduce the mortgage payments required to own a home.
  • Twelve provinces and territories have signed bilateral agreements under the multilateral Housing Partnership Framework, which will flow more than $7.7 billion in new federal funding to provinces and territories over the next decade to support the stock of community housing and address regional priorities.

For more information on the consultations, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/housingaffordability

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