Could Land Trusts Be The Solution To Housing Affordability in Vancouver?

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On the banks of Fraser River, a new and unique co-operative housing project is in development. By the end of 2017, residents can expect three buildings – two towers, one lower-rise building – with a total of 358 units. The address is 2910 East Kent Avenue, and is one of the ways the City of Vancouver is trying to combat the speculative market and provide affordable housing.

A new land-trust foundation in Vancouver, called the Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation (VCLTF), is the main driving force behind this project. Their number one goal, as outlined on their website, is “to provide and preserve opportunities for persons primarily of low and moderate income to acquire and occupy housing and accommodation and facilities which would otherwise be unattainable or unaffordable.” It is because of this vision that the City was willing to give, for $10, a 99-year lease for land worth $25 million.

When the buildings the VCLTF are constructing are completed, some units will be rented out at market price. However, a few others, will be rented for $375 a month – the amount that the provincial government provides for housing people on welfare. Other units will be rented to people for no more than 30% of their declared income.

The VCLTF is also in talks with other organizations and municipalities in the hopes of implementing more affordable housing projects. Currently, the foundation is in negotiations with the North Cowichan District to develop that municipality’s first-ever low-cost housing project.  They hope that their efforts will spur more construction in the low-cost-homes segment.  

If the VCLTF is successful in implementing their vision, the benefit for British Columbian citizens is a supply of quality, new low-cost housing, run by a foundation whose main priority is the people and not profits.

Source: Globe and Mail
Source: Mortgage Broker News
Source: Vancouver Sun