Description

In June 2018, the City of Vancouver placed city-owned assets worth $2-billion into a new endowment fund, called the Vancouver Affordable Housing Endowment Fund (pdf), that is intended to strengthen its financial and administrative capacity to support non-market housing.

Significance

  • The newly created fund brings together more than 200 City-owned and operated non-market housing assets. Community amenity contributions, the empty homes tax and development cost levies, as well as revenues generated through the assets such as lease payments, will be used to help maintain and expand the fund.
  • The fund is intended to enhance the city’s ability to achieve targets for affordable housing set out in the city’s Housing Vancouver policy statement. Revenue generated by the new fund will be used to help acquire new housing sites, increase support for social and non-profit housing, and better align city policies with initiatives of housing partners and senior levels of government.
  • Some were concerned about the impact on parts of the housing market not supported by the fund, such as co-op housing and called for more research on using the fund for options across the spectrum, from modular housing to co-ops on public land.

Background

The newly created endowment fund will be used to help achieve the Housing Vancouver target of 72,000 new homes over the next 10 years, including 12,000 new units of social and supportive housing.

Revenue from the new fund will secure social housing through support for inclusionary housing policies, acquisition of new housing sites, increasing social housing on large sites to 30 per cent with 10 per cent for moderate incomes, enabling non-profit ownership of social housing in the Downtown Eastside, developing incentives for non-profit housing and pursuing a multi-year investment plan with senior governments to use city land for affordable housing.

The city initially set up its endowment fund in the early 1970s. Revenue from the civic assets has been used to reduce the property tax mill rate. Progressive urban activists since at least the mid-2000s have repeatedly called for the city’s endowment fund to be used for social housing.

Sources

Last updated: December 10, 2018