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Thousands of affordable housing units needed each year to keep up with Vancouver demand: report

Last Updated Dec 11, 2019 at 10:44 am PDT

FILE -- Homes are pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says Vancouver needs 10,000 units of affordable housing

The additions are needed to keep up with population growth and backlog

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Is it possible to build 10,000 units of affordable housing per year in Metro Vancouver? A new report finds that is what’s needed to catch up to demand.

The city needs to build 5,000 non-market rental units to keep up with population growth and another 5,000 annually to address the backlog.

The ambitious research comes from the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Economist Marc Lee says the numbers include public housing and co-ops that are truly affordable for ordinary households.

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“It’s actually renters who are low to middle-income who are the most vulnerable and the most in crisis, and this is precisely the group that is not profitable for developers.”

He’s urging all levels of government to step in.

“We’re calling on the B.C. government and federal government, along with the municipal governments, and any other partners like NGOs or churches, to come together and build out 10,000 units of non-market housing per year.”

Lee pegs the annual cost at $2.5 billion, but says it’s almost all up front, with rental revenue streams lasting for decades afterward.