Plans for a new affordable rental housing development in Maple Ridge. (Black Press Media files)

Plans for a new affordable rental housing development in Maple Ridge. (Black Press Media files)

10,000 affordable rentals a year needed to tackle Metro Vancouver housing crisis: report

The report focused on building government-funded housing, rather than relying on the private sector

An additional 10,000 affordable rental units need to be built around Metro Vancouver annually to begin fixing the housing crisis in the region, according to a report released Wednesday by the Canadian Centre on Policy Alternatives.

The report focused on building government-funded housing, rather than relying on the private sector.

“A lot of the focus on housing has been around private-built housing with homeownership as the goal,” senior economist Marc Lee told Black Press Media by phone.

But the people who need housing the most, Lee said, are low- or middle-income tenants who are not profitable for private builders.

Compounding the issue, he noted, is that although Metro Vancouver’s population has risen over the years, rental housing has not kept pace.

Between immigration and more people being pushed out of homeownership, “there’s a lot more competition for the same number of rental,” Lee said.

The report found that 10,000 new affordable rental units need to be built each year, at a cost of about $2.5 billion, in order to keep pace with population growth.

“There’s such a backlog [of people needing housing], so this is just to tread water,” Lee said.

“If we want to deal with the backlog or address homelessness, we need to go above and beyond that.”

The report acknowledges that $2.5 billion each year is a marked increase above the province’s average yearly capital budget of $10 billion.

Lee said the feds would need to step in as well, but points out that $2.5 billion cost would be made back by charging even low rents to tenants.

The report said that with a one bedroom apartment costing $180,000 to build, the public would earn back $216,000 over 30 years on that unit even with a subsidized rent of $600 per month.

Lee acknowledged that while the financials may work out, public opinion could be harder to sway.

“The challenge is going to be how this plays out on a neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood basis,” he said, citing opposition to modular housing in Vancouver and Surrey, as well as recently announced low-income housing for displaced tent city residents in Maple Ridge.

“It’s more about the conversation we need to have; we have a crisis and right now it’s leaving people on the streets and camping in parks.”

READ MORE: Rent as low as $375 per month at new Maple Ridge affordable housing complex

VIDEOS: Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lacey, a palomino paint, is in “amazing” shape now, compared to when she was rescued in August 2015. (Leanne Peniuk photo)
BC SPCA’s horse-rescue program offers equine intervention

Book Rescue Me raises funds, awareness for animal-welfare agency

Hugh Dobbie’s South Surrey-based tech business Yare Media was recently acquired by California’s Visaic Inc. (SFU photo)
South Surrey tech company acquired by California business

Hugh Dobbie founded Yare Media in 2016, and ‘will remain involved’

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

Joy Johnson, seen here during an installation ceremony on Oct. 22, is Simon Fraser University’s 10th president and vice-chancellor. (Submitted photo)
SFU’s Surrey campus tackling COVID-19-related research

‘We can learn now,’ SFU president Joy Johnson said, ‘so should something like this happen again we’ll be prepared. We have to learn from this current pandemic’

Mayor Darryl Walker gives a welcoming hug to Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell at the inaugural meeting of the current White Rock council in 2018. (Alex Browne photo)
White Rock council under fire for inaugural prayer

BC Humanist Association charges city violated Supreme Court ruling two years ago

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Most Read