March 1, 2012

Join The Conversation

The UDI invites everyone to offer their opinions and suggestions online as to how we can provide more homes and ease housing affordability in Metro Vancouver.

Maureen Enser is executive director of the Urban Development Institute

Urban Development Institute president, Don Forsgren, recently outlined in a speech to the B.C. homebuilding industry a message that seems to have – at least until now – been missing from the housing affordability public discussion. With the population in Metro Vancouver expected to grow by more than 1.1 million people over the next 30 years, and affordability continuing to deteriorate, Forsgren spoke with uncompromising clarity that “there is a great need for more homes for more people, both now and in coming years.”

As the UDI president framed it, it is clear that the objective of providing more affordable homes to the current and future population will be an impossible undertaking without a coordinated approach to increasing housing supply – even beyond that of existing housing targets. However, with concrete action and support from the provincial government, municipalities, and the creativity of the private sector it is a challenge that can be met and won.

It is a simple proposition; we need more homes for more people. That is why UDI has launched an open conversation with the public, through social media, seeking new ideas in which the public, government and industry can coalesce to find solutions to B.C.’s housing crisis. Reducing homelessness, building more social housing for low income workers, and building substantially more market affordable housing for the majority of people in the market for a new home is achievable with action and discussion.

Building more homes is also good for the economy and business. Business in B.C. cannot thrive without more affordable housing for the workforce and for a growing population.

That workforce includes everyone on incomes from $35,000 to $80,000. I am writing of people with good solid incomes, but maybe not solid enough to purchase their own home in Metro Vancouver.

Again, the reason for this is a simple lack of supply. This lack of supply of market housing also places upward cost pressures on housing designated for “low-income” workers, as middle income people seek out any housing available that is close to work and transit.

More Homes For More People is an initiative of UDI which provides an inclusive forum for discussion where readers of Westcoast Homes & Design magazine, the general public, Gen Y, politicians, developers and community groups can raise their viewpoints on how we can meet this challenge. I will leave you with a few questions to ponder (and I would love to invite your responses), so here they are:

How do we build more homes for more people and improve affordability in Metro Vancouver? What can your local council do to make housing more affordable in your neighbourhood? What can developers do? What can opponents of new development do to ensure we have enough homes for a growing population? Should the province play a bigger role in housing?

Should we cut taxes, such the Property Transfer Tax? Or cut the amount of local taxes and fees on new home construction?

To respond to these questions, please join the conversation online and put forward your opinions on social media. Visit More Homes For More People on Facebook at www.morehomes4morepeople.org or follow the conversation on Twitter at @morehomes4 and under the discussion tag #morehomes.

As executive director of the leading development industry organization in B.C., I can say that UDI looks forward to your views and your participation in this conversation. More homes for more people – join the conversation!

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