City Steps Aggressively into Housing

temporary modular housing project
A rendering of the proposed first temporary modular housing project.


Vancouver City Council offers city-owned sites to senior levels of government and a land trust foundation for housing for seniors, families and low-income workers, supports innovative modular housing pilot project and initiates plans for new rental housing.

temporary modular housing project
A rendering of the proposed first temporary modular housing project.

Potential Significance

Vancouver accepts greater responsibility for housing despite limited financial resources. City Council prods senior levels of government to contribute to housing construction by offering four City-owned sites for specific projects. Municipal housing agency sparks interest in modular housing that can be manufactured off-site, stacked, relocated and reconfigured.


  • The City announces plans to rezone four City-owned sites for 400 units of subsidized housing: 177 West Pender Street for up to 100 homes for people on low to moderate incomes; 3510 Fraser Street for 60 homes for seniors; 2221 Main Street for 130 rental homes for working families and singles, and 55-79 and 87-115 Southwest Marine Drive for 100 rental homes with 50% of units for families. The assessed value of the four properties is $50-million. As of December, the funding partners for development had not yet been announced.
  • The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) launches a pilot project for modular housing at 1500 Main Street, with the goal of providing 40 single occupancy suites with self contained bathrooms and kitchens. The 15,000-square foot building is slated to open in February 2017.
  • City Council in November 2016 begins a review of temporary modular housing definition, regulations and amendments to existing City-owned CD-1 sites, and design guidelines.
  • The Vancouver Affordable Housing Authority announces plans for 250 rental units on City-owned land for seniors, families and workers with low-to-moderate income in the River District in southeast Vancouver – 107 units at 3185 Riverwalk Avenue; 51 units at 3245 Pierview Crescent and 89 units at 3183 Pierview Crescent. VAHA was to build the housing, retain ownership and operate the buildings. Construction was to begin in 2017.
  • Construction begins on 358 rental and co-op homes on City-owned lands under an agreement with the governments of Canada and British Columbia, the Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation, Vancity, equity investor New Market Funds, and a group of co-op and non-profit housing organizations, including Fraserview Housing Co-operative, Sanford Housing Society and Tikva Housing Society. The City will provide 99-year leases on four City-owned sites: 1700 Kingsway in Kensington Cedar Cottage, 2780 SE Marine Drive, 2800 SE Marine Drive and 2910 East Kent Avenue South. The project will provide 182 two and three bedroom homes for families and 108 homes for seniors. The rental and co-op units will be at an average of 76 per cent of market rent across the four sites. The City-owned land was assessed at $24.7-million.
  • The City has a target of providing through partnerships 5,000 units of social housing and 5,000 units of secured market rental housing by 2021.
  • The City is aiming to support households with incomes ranging from social assistance with a shelter allowance of $375 per month for a single person to households with a maximum income of $86,500. The principle of affordability is based on a maximum allocation to housing cost of 30 per cent of household income.
  • To increase housing options for Vancouver families, a new family housing policy was approved requiring 35% of all homes to be two- and three-bedrooms. This policy sets new standards, up from 25%, and increases the supply of family homes in new strata and rental buildings with a focus on creating much needed 3-bedroom houses.
  • Council approved a proposed framework and next steps to regulate short-term rentals, including a licensing approach and enforcement. The new regulations will allow approximately 50% of current short-term rental listings and almost all private room listings in an effort to protect existing rreental homes and ensure they’re available for long-term rental.
  • In the fall of 2016, housing experts from around the world gathered for Vancouver’s first international housing conference, re:address.

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