BC NDP looks to build 14,000 affordable rentals for just under $2 billion over 10 years

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces the Building BC Community Housing Fund in Victoria on April 18, 2018.
B.C. Premier John Horgan announces the Building BC Community Housing Fund in Victoria on April 18, 2018. Richard Zussman/Global News

The B.C. government has rolled another part of its housing plan.

The province has announced $1.9 billion over the next 10 years as part of a Building BC Community Housing Fund to build 14,000 new units for renters through partnerships with municipalities, non-profits and co-ops.

Coverage of rentals in B.C. on

Thirty per cent of the units will be set aside for “moderate income” households.

“Moderate” is defined as households earning up to $71,200 for units with less than two bedrooms, and up to $104,000 for homes that have two bedrooms or more.

Fifty per cent of units created through the fund will be set aside for “low to moderate income” households.

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Such households are defined as being below “Housing Income Limits,” which refers to the income needed to pay average rents for an “appropriately-sized” unit on the private market in a given community, according to BC Housing.

READ MORE: Vancouver and Victoria incomes are going up. Just not as fast as home prices: data

Housing Income Limits range from $21,000 to $95,000, but the amounts depend on the communities and the sizes of those areas’ units.

The remaining 20 per cent of the suites will be for low-income households, making between $15,000 and $30,000 a year and needing a “deeper level of subsidy,” such as income assistance, the province said in a news release.

“There is a clamouring for more family-appropriate housing in locations that make sense for families and we are going to shape the program towards that,” Premier John Horgan said.

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The NDP government is slowly implementing its 30-point plan to address housing.

Part of that plan includes the controversial Speculation Tax. The province has also increased the Property Transfer Tax (PTT), the School Tax for homes worth more than $3 million and it’s establishing a new HousingHub.

The government is trying to push units out quickly, with $370 million scheduled to be spent in the next three years.

But actually building the units takes time.

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“Ultimately we are looking at about 24 months from concept, acquisition, planning. You have to go through rezoning, then 12 to 15 months to build,” said Pacifica Housing executive director Dean Fortin.

READ MORE: Vancouver home sales fell twice as fast as a bank thought they would after BC NDP’s new taxes

The funding is part of the province’s pledge to put $7 billion towards housing over the next decade.

The projects will be prioritized based on targeted clients and the impacts the project would have in reducing community needs for affordable housing.

“This new initiative will help us address the critical shortage of rental supply,” said Housing Minister Selina Robinson.

“This program is another significant step to work collectively to fix the housing crisis.”