Laneway houses are popping up in Vancouver at a record rate as the city aims to increase affordable and sustainable housing options.
Since launching the laneway housing program in 2009, the City of Vancouver has issued more than 1,000 permits for the mini, detached houses, which usually range from 500 to 1,200 square feet and rent from around $1,000 to $2,500 depending on size and area.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said the new houses help meet Vancouver’s urgent need for affordable housing.
“Whether for students, aging family members, or young people looking to live close to home or new job opportunities, Vancouver’s successful laneway housing program is creating more affordable and sustainable housing options in single-family neighbourhoods and contributing significant new rental housing,” Robertson said in a statement.
The laneway housing program is part of a larger initiative to deal with Vancouver’s housing crisis.
This includes the creation of 355 new, affordable rental units on four city-owned sites in Southeast Vancouver, the city’s first co-housing project, initiatives for all-rental developments, and the opening of a Rent Bank to help renters in need of short-term loans.
But not everyone thinks the laneway homes are a perfect solution and fear increased density could impact communities.
” My concern with them is overpopulating the schools,” Karen Theberge said in a Facebook post.
Others say the benefits outweigh the lack of privacy.
“I will admit that you lose some privacy, but I just close my blinds that face the lane most of the time. I don’t mind at all. One bedroom and 550 square feet… I’m quite happy with my little space… I don’t need a big place to clean,” posted Bradley Soucie.
Some questioned the city’s idea of “affordable housing.”
“If living in a shoe box for that much money is considered affordable I think I would be moving to a different part of the province,” said Steve MacKinnon in a Facebook post.
“How can a student afford $1,000 to $2,500 monthly rent. That’s a fancy home for 550 square feet,” said Beverly McInnis.