A Vancouver city Councillor is pitching a motion she hopes will help more young families achieve the dream of home ownership.
Melissa DeGenova wants staff to explore changes to the Vancouver Charter to speed up plans for a city “Affordable Home Ownership” program.
“We can’t afford not to do this for our economy here in Vancouver. If you think about young families, individuals trying to get into the housing market, who just don’t even give Vancouver a second look, they just simply can’t afford to live here. And if the city doesn’t step in now we’re going to see the city become less and less affordable over the years.”
What exactly an affordable home ownership program would look like, and whether it would include incentives for developers or help for homebuyers won’t be clear until city staff make their recommendations a few months from now.
But DeGenova says it should be targeted first time home buyers, young families and millennials who are at risk of fleeing the city.
“I’m hearing from residents in Vancouver who are spending way beyond their means to be able to achieve housing, and they just can’t keep up so they’re going to just pack up and leave. And I hate to hear that.”
She says it will have to involve creative thinking and a move away from a focus on traditional condos or detached homes.
“We certainly lack stock of row or townhomes, for those people who don’t want to live in a house but would like to have that yard for their families, and also unfortunately our policy right now doesn’t allow for microsuites to be built. So we need to look at thinking outside the box as to how we build housing in Vancouver.”
DeGenova says city staff have been working on the affordable home ownership program since last summer, but have warned that its recommendations might need a change to the city’s charter.
That would require approval from the province and could take between months and years, and so DeGenova says she wants staff to start looking at what might need to be changed and how to go about it now, to get the ball rolling sooner, rather than later.
She says with the province vowing to take action on shadow flipping and entering the affordability conversation, she hopes there will be an appetite for the plan in Victoria.
The motion goes to council next Tuesday.