An update from MVA's Housing Campaign Team

North Shore - On February 27, 2016 at St. Anthony’s RC Church in West Vancouver, nineteen north shore residents most of whom had attended the February 8th Affordable Housing Assembly and made a commitment to work on the campaign, met with the Housing Team. Michael Markwick (Capilano University), Paul Clark (St. Catherine’s Anglican Church) and James Cavalluzzo (BCGEU) headed delegations to plan the follow-up meetings with the three north shore mayors. Attendees at this meeting all committed to become delegates on one of these three teams: City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and City of West Vancouver. All three teams will meet again on Saturday, April 2nd at noon at St. Anthony’s Church in West Vancouver to report on their progress.

City of Vancouver - The City passed a revised Standards and Mainantence By-law in the spring of 2015. MVA had no input on this. We attended the Council meeting when it was passed to express our concern. 

Our campaign to make covenants a component of all new developments, locking in truly affordable purchase and rental housing in perpetuity is continuing. We announced last fall to the Board and Strategy Team meeting that we were prepared to start a pilot project of our own to test the covenant policy. After meeting with key people who helped shape the Whistler Housing Authority with its covenant policy designed to supply affordable housing to people who work in Whistler, we launched a pilot project to find developer(s) and a site where we could demonstrate that our ask at the 2014 Municipal Election Assembly would work in Vancouver. 

At a City Hall meeting on Wednesday, February 10th and a follow-up meeting with Mukhtar Latin, Chief Housing Officer for the COV on Friday, February 12th, we discovered that the COV housing department has been working on a limited covenant pilot project for affordable home ownership in selected areas of the COV for first time buyers. It has not yet gone to Council. We learned that the COV is at the same stage as the MVA's pilot project: our Team with our limited resources and the COV are both still looking for a developer and a site to develop to demonstrate that using covenants can keep the rental and owned housing units out of the market.

The Housing Team asked the MVA Board and Strategy Team at its February 15th meeting for direction on contacting MVA faith members who have property they want to develop, to gather those people and to meet again with Mukhtar in early to mid-April.

The campaign is focusing on:

  1. the Covenant Pilot Project in Vancouver 
  2. contacting MVA faith members in Vancouver who have property they want to develop for the purpose of caucusing to share our experiences and strengths before meeting with Mukhtar Latif, Chief Housing Officer COV.

Background: MVA members housing asks and commitments

October 9, 2014 municipal accountability assembly at the Italian Cultural Centre, Vancouver

MVA committed to:

  • making available to the Mayor of Vancouver and city staff personal testimony, community case studies and all information needed to identify weaknesses in current by-laws
  • work with our member institutions to develop innovative solutions to the affordability crisis

The Mayor said yes to:

  • strengthen, enforce and extend by-laws which ensure decent standard of maintenance and protect tenants from renovictions.
  • make covenants a component of all new developments, locking in truly affordable purchase and rental housing in perpetuity.

February 8, 2016 Affordable Housing Assembly at St. Catherine’s Church, North Vancouver

MVA Organizations and Leaders committed to:

  • support the Mayors in securing the commitment of City Councillors and others as needed to deliver on these promises.
  • build broad-based support for these initiatives within our organizations and communities, including surfacing the stories and experiences of housing challenges that are needed to inform decisions on how best to address the problem.

The Mayors said yes to:

  • amending the official West Vancouver Community Plan to include housing security as a design principal
  • use municipally owned land to leverage the development of affordable non-market housing - held for that purpose in perpetuity through a land trust or other mechanism in all three north shore municipalities
  • prioritize District of North Vancouver municipally leveraged developments to meet the needs of Capilano University students

Other affordable housing activities by MVA member organizations 

Stamps Landing - DTES RC Parishes and RayCam Community Centre - BC Housing is selling Stamps Landing, a social housing complex in the DTES. The community and tenants want to influence BC Housing about who will be allowed to buy it.

58 West Hastings - Carnegie Community Centre's Community Action Project (CCAP) - through a series of Town Hall meetings, CCAP gathered community support to ask the COV owner of 58 West Hastings to develop it into 500 sq. ft. units exclusively for rent to welfare recipients at the provincial welfare housing allowance rate of $375 month.

SRO Coalition - independent, but connected to CCAP, on-going regular workshops to gather stories from SRO tenants and educate them on their rights  

 

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