Accessing affordable and suitable housing has always been an issue for low-income households and persons with special needs in the City of North Vancouver, and increasingly difficult for moderate-income households who are challenged to afford the average market rental and homeownership prices in the City.
The City has made significant commitments to address local housing issues through demonstrating leadership in affordable housing for decades. While these milestones have created positive outcomes on addressing local housing issues, the housing needs and affordability challenges have never been so challenging. Housing prices are increasing at unprecedented rates. Rents are also increasing, with vacancy rates close to 0%. The limited affordable and suitable housing in North Vancouver affects a range of households, and greatly impacts the most vulnerable residents.
Key housing gaps in North Vancouver include a limited supply of family-friendly housing, affordable and accessible age-friendly housing, purpose built rental housing, low-end of market rental housing and supportive non-market housing. Compounding the housing gaps are issues related to expiring operating agreements in the non-profit housing sector, the combined costs of housing and transportation, and constrained land base to accommodate new housing development.
In response to this challenge, the City initiated the creation of a North Vancouver Housing Action Plan, and retained CitySpaces Consulting to facilitate the North Vancouver Housing Action Plan process, which involved:
- A housing affordability analysis for renters and homeowners, which informed the City-authored Housing Profile paper.
- Policy Alternatives Report, which presented research on a wide range of housing models and tools considered for the North Vancouver Housing Action Plan.
- User-Friendly Document summarizing Policy Alternatives, including infographics to communicate housing issues and tools.
- Engagement Strategy, including facilitating a staff workshop, Council workshop, and stakeholder workshop.
- High-level pro forma analysis and research to inform the anticipated density bonus requirement update to secure low-end of market rental.
- Drafting the North Vancouver Housing Action Plan.
The final North Vancouver Housing Action Plan outlines the policy, regulatory and land, capital and financial actions to address housing needs, issues and gaps in the City of North Vancouver. Innovative actions within the North Vancouver Housing Action Plan included a family-friendly housing policy for multi-unit residential development projects, parking reduction requirements for securing purpose-built rental housing and low-end of market rental housing along the frequent transit network, and a framework to support non-profit housing societies with regenerating old stock and remaining viable upon expiry of their operating agreements.