Housing experts from New York, San Diego, Vienna, and Toronto and gathered in Vancouver today to put their heads together in an attempt to solve the housing affordability crisis at the Re:Address Summit.
But it looks like New York’s ambitious plan for a housing solution may not fly in Vancouver.
It’s called mandatory inclusionary zoning.
New York’s Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development, Vicki Been, says the city imposed rules force developers to make as many as 30% of units affordable based on income levels.
“We are asking the developers to basically pay for that out of a cross-subsidy. They can and certain instances use our low-income housing tax credits which are federal resources.”
The units are for those making an average of 40% of the median income, or about $31,000 a year for a family of three.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says the city’s inclusionary rate is 20% affordable housing units, but that’s only on city land, not private.
“We have a provision for those units and we have sites in the city that were held from previous developments as part of incusionary zoning. For example in Downtown South Concord developments there are still sites there that haven’t been built because there is no cash from the federal and provincial government to build affordable units there. It is a piece we are looking at next steps with so that we can activate those sites and get affordable housing built on them, but we need those partnerships to make it affordable.”
Robertson says the city also doesn’t have as much density and value to mandate as many affordable housing units as New York can.