Vancouver’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy

Yesterday the City of Vancouver released its “Housing and Homelessness Strategy”:

The views and opinions heard during this public and stakeholder engagement were used to shape the Housing & Homelessness Strategy…  Building on what the City has learnt from past practices and policies and what we heard during Talk Housing With Us, the Strategy focuses on three strategic directions:
1. Increase the supply of affordable housing
2. Encourage a housing mix across all neighbourhoods that enhances quality of life
3. Provide strong leadership and support partners to enhance housing stability
The Strategy addresses the entire housing continuum with the City committed to improving choice and affordability for all residents and in all neighbourhoods across the city.  The housing continuum consists of the range of housing options available to households of all income levels, from emergency shelters for people who are homeless to affordable home ownership options for key workers with moderate incomes.
All income levels except those have above-moderate incomes. Or am I missing something? Apparently…
… the continuum doesn’t seem to include cooperatives, rented detached and rented attached dwellings. When the City talks about a “range of housing options available to households of all income levels”, we should separate what a family is willing to pay and what a family is able to pay to live in the City. On this front, unfortunately, the City is unwilling to deal with its rampant land hoarding and speculation addiction. If they want to join SpecAnon, the door is always open.
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whydoItry
Guest
whydoItry

If property values for condominiums collapse then the city, province and feds should have a fund set up to buy the distressed sales and use them for social housing. Heck, CMHC will own a bundle of them itself. The Canadian taxpayer has already paid for them once – why do we have to pay for them twice.

We don't have to build affordable housing – its already here. You just have to take advantage of the opportunities coming up.

patriotz
Member
Their whole POV is flawed. Homelessness is not caused by housing market unaffordability. Rental housing wasn't any more affordable in the 70s – and there was actually a severe shortage of vacancies due to rent controls – yet there was almost no homelessness as we know it today. Homelessness is the result of lack of support for people with mental illnesses or other personal problems or crises. It should be treated as a health and welfare issue and not conflated with housing market issues. The only real problem with housing in Vancouver is the massive distortion of the cost of buying versus renting – in other words a bubble – and it's beyond the power of the city to do anything significant about it, so if the city really wants to do people a favour it should just tell them… Read more »
keeperofthederp
Guest

@whydoItry:

the ChiComs in Beijing will do the same with the 64 million empty condos there, right?

ha ha ha

keeperofthederp
Guest
alx
Member
alx

At the most basic level, it’s a simple function of turnover. Even if we could house everyone who was homeless today, there would be homeless people living on the streets tomorrow, because there are always people leaving where they live and having nowhere to go.

It may be because they are escaping an abusive relationship, and being nowhere is better than being “home”; or they might have a mental illness, or an addiction, that leads to eviction with no notice–and results in them being turned away from other private accommodation, and unable to find space in a homeless shelter.

from http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2011/06/30/the

"Fixing" homelessness by targeting housing costs is like taking antibiotics for a viral infection.

When I first saw "swags for homelessness, I thought it was awesome. This is a great first step in helping those in need.

http://www.swags.org.au/

Best place on meth
Member
Best place on meth
As far as affordable housing goes, I see nothing in that report addressing the biggest problem of them all, speculation. A lot of chatter about "incentives" to create affordable housing, but no "disincentives" to stop the speculating and hoarding of land and units. All levels of government would need to get involved to: 1. End the Immigrant Investor Program and say goodbye to HAM. 2. Pull CHMC insurance from mortgages used for 2nd and 3rd homes, recreational properties, investment properties, anything that is not a primary residence. If people still want them they will have to pay higher interest rates as they will not be backstopped by taxpayers. 3. Increase property taxes for all properties mentioned above. 100% more should do. 4. Raise interest rates. Once prices fall back into line with rents and wages, then it makes sense to… Read more »
patriotz
Member

@Best place on meth:

All great ideas, but you don't need action by all levels of government by any means.

Just a 100% tax on RE speculation (which either the provincial or federal government could impose) OR severe cutbacks in CMHC insurance (or better, elimination) would do the trick.

Van MD
Guest
Van MD
[Quick update from the frontlines] at work right now, but managed to squeeze in a post in the Chinese forum, arguing against a perma-bull "Wincouver"'s argument that: "RE is called by Japanese to be "Real" because it does not disappear. It's non-perishable because it's physical. No one can produce more land. Human population will always grow and land will grow more scarce. And, scarcity of land determines the rise of real estate. If you can't afford Vancouver West, move to Burnaby, if you can't afford Burnaby, move to Coquitlam; if you can't afford Coquitlam, move to Maple Ridge!" I seized the moment to employ the knowledge I gained here, and this is my counter-argument: http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&pr… In short, I discussed around Japan's lost decade(s), referred to this graph http://www.dynamicdps.com/images/00522japanhomepr… and pointed to the fact that the larger cities had the greater… Read more »
keeperofthederp
Guest

@Best place on meth:

that's all well and good but it looks like the speculators are paying for the policy makers?

and the news..

lol what a mess

keeperofthederp
Guest

@Van MD:

ah i think West Van Princelings will be joining you in the fight again shortly, just gotta put the Deep Purple Album on..

https://downandoutinvancouver.wordpress.com/2011/

Best place on meth
Member
Best place on meth

@Van MD:

No one can produce more land? Please tell your friend to shove this up his ass then – since it doesn't exist it won't hurt a bit.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-npdekO9_BTU/TWUZJNldVXI

Regardless of that part of his argument, it's silly to say that land can't disappear because that's not the point.

The point is that its value can disappear.

keeperofthederp
Guest

@Best place on meth:

haven't the palms and the world development islands project gone bankrupt now?

china = dubai x 1000

Best place on meth
Member
Best place on meth

@keeperofthederp:

Yeah, and not only that but thanks to rising sea levels it'll eventually be underwater (nice metaphor) which negates the silly cheerleaders other point that land never disappears.

The developers giveth and the lord taketh away.

The pumper is 0 for 2.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

@Van MD:

A wise person told be when investing, 'beware of a compelling story'. In other words, the easier it is to make a case that something is a good investment (eg. limited land, beautiful city, HAM is coming) the more likely it is that the investment is overpriced or on its way to being overpriced…and will eventually crash. No matter how great an asset or investment is, be it Vancouver RE, a BMW, etc…it can be overpriced. You can argue all day about how great of a car a BMW is, but if it costs $500K should you buy it?

space889
Guest
space889

@Best place on meth: Good luck with that.

#1 means a lot less money coming into Canada and government of Canada.

#2 is harder to do, what's to prevent a husband claim a first home, wife claim the 2nd home as her first, one for the adult children, etc? Not to mention that also makes it easier to do some tax avoidance/cheating.

space889
Guest
space889
@Van MD: Be ready for the following arguments: 1 – Japan doesn't allow immigrations, Canada encourages it 2 – Women in Japan aren't and don't want to have kids, Canadian and immigrant women do 3 – Most of Canada isn't livable, eg) NWT, etc so the desireable land like in Vancouver are in huge demand, after all we are bound on 1 side by ocean, 1 side by US Border, 1 side by mountains, and 1 side by ALR. 4 – Vancouver has the best weather 5 – There is no bubble in Vancouver like there is in Japan 6 – Vancouver is port of Asia, an economic giant beyond its size 7 – Vancouver is consistently rated as the top place to live in the world, we are world class and we are cheap relative to other world class… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

@space889:

1. Incomes are not keeping up with RE prices

2. Interest rates have no where to go but up

3. Way cheaper to rent

bubba
Guest
bubba

Affordable Housing…

…….is simply more BS

Certain developers produce these…there is always a catch that must benefit them.

It's a red herring thrown to the masses to deflect attention.

Affordable housing died in the early 1980's

patriotz
Member

@space889:

Anything else I forgot about??

Actual scarcity of anything is indicated by its price of use. During the dot-com bubble it cost a very large amount of money to buy a share of a fibre-optic network, but there was never any shortage of capacity, as indicated by the falling long distance rates.

Price of use of RE is rents. That's what indicates how scarce it is. Not selling prices. Anyone who cannot figure this out from the ghost towns of Florida, Ireland, etc must be brain dead.

Use of RE in Vancouver is no more intensive than elsewhere in Canada. We have ground level parking lots downtown, large empty spaces right next to downtown, and huge areas of lightly used industrial, commercial and residential RE. That's not scarcity.

Vansanity
Guest
Vansanity
I recently wrote to Premier Clark asking what she plans to do to end the foreign speculation that is partly responsible for driving prices to absurd levels. Here was the reply I received: "The decisions the BC government makes regarding foreign trade and the economy need to be made with careful consideration. In terms of foreign investment in the real estate market, we need to be careful about bringing in policies that could turn away potential investors from British Columbia. These types of investments do create jobs and allow for our communities to grow, but we also realize this is having an impact on the cost of real estate." I wrote back asking them to explain how allowing foreign investment/speculation on housing allows for our communities to grow or adds to the economy? I asked why speculation isn't taxed hard… Read more »
granite countertop
Member
granite countertop

Nitpicking the article:

"the continuum doesn’t seem to include cooperatives, rented detached and rented attached dwellings"

I think these are included in "Purpose-built rental". In any case, I don't think a normal market has a lot of detatched/attached rental dwellings, most of what Metro Vancouver has is due to speculation. A normal market will have more purpose-built rental buildings.

I'm surprized that cooperatives seem to have been deemphasized. I heard the federal NDP talking up cooperatives as a cost-effective way to create affordable housing, but that was two elections ago. Aren't they effective? A lot of them are leaking, were they mismanaged?

keeperofthederp
Guest

@Vansanity:

when chipmunk cheeks and the Fiberals fail you

I AM THERE FOR YOU

https://downandoutinvancouver.wordpress.com/2011/

yes, that is a video of a MiG (or a Sukoy 22?) taking out a crowd of spectators at an airshow.

granite countertop
Member
granite countertop

Vancouver progressives (NDP, Vision) are completely unable to see the housing bubble.

While they are able to see and criticize some social problems, like oil dependency, they aren't personally profiting from those problems.

There isn't a history of marching in the streets to protest housing unaffordability. They don't notice it directly causes more problems than some of the dumb shit they do complain about.

They think that wealth distribution should be more equal, but it doesn't compute that while high real estate makes their wealth more "equal", people who didn't own before the bubble started are getting fucked over.

Worst of all, they can't see the bubble as a social problem because they created it. "We eat organic, we do yoga, we are at one with the needs of the people. We don't create problems, we solve them!" Blech.

Vansanity
Guest
Vansanity

@keeperofthederp:

I don't know what the "derp" is, but I think I'd a like a bowl of it.

@granite countertop:

Yes, well said.

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