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November 22 is National Housing Day; a day to put a spotlight on housing issues, particularly the importance of rental housing.  Rental housing is an essential building block of Canadian communities.   Purpose-built rental housing provides a safe, secure form of housing for our growing workforce.   The Canadian Rental Housing Coalition urges the federal government to make rental housing a priority in the upcoming budget.

To learn more about the Canadian Rental Housing Coalition and how you can support our efforts, check out the Take Action section and endorse the CRHC Charter.

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On Tuesday November 26th, the Housing Justice Initiative and the Rental Housing Council will host a Forum on Housing Issues in Vancouver.  The forum will discuss the delivery of both rental and owned housing in the City:

“The forum has been organized to bring together important stakeholders in the process and politics of the provision of adequate housing in Vancouver. It will provide an opportunity for representatives of landlords, property managers, and developers to share concerns and propose solutions that can be used to inform housing policy.”

The Invitation to the Forum can be found below.  Please contact Research Assistant Maureen Mendoza ( for more information and to confirm attendance.

Event Details:
Forum Invitation
November 26, 2013 8:30 am – 10:00 am
World Art Centre, SFU Woodwards
Room 2555 – 148 West Hastings Street

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#Make Rental Happen


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The Canadian Rental Housing Coalition supports York Region’s campaign to “Make Rental Happen.”

York Regional Municipality in Ontario has embarked on an awareness and advocacy campaign called “Make Rental Happen”.  Their website (Make Rental Happen) includes videos of IBM Canada representatives speaking about the importance of rental housing for its workforce, as well as comedian Rick Mercer highlighting the importance of this issue.

Check out the website here Make Rental Happen to add your support, and follow the campaign on Twitter #Make Rental Happen.

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On May 13, 2013 the City of New Westminster adopted a Secured Market Rental Housing Policy outlining the City’s strategies and actions aimed at retaining, renewing and enhancing the supply of secured rental housing.  The new policy lays out specific objectives and describes the municipal actions necessary to achieve them.

The policy focuses on creating incentives that will encourage the private development community to create new secured market rental units.  The goal is to boost the supply of market rental housing and ensure that these units remain in the rental supply over the long-term through Housing Agreements and no-separate sales (no stratification) covenants.

Objectives – Retention:

  • Reduce the likelihood that the existing purpose-built rental stock will be redeveloped.
  • If demolition occurs, reduce the impact of the loss of the rental housing stock on tenants.

Objectives – Renewal:

  • Increase investment into the existing purpose-built rental housing stock.
  • Increase the life span of the existing stock.
  • Improve the operating costs of the purpose-built rental housing stock.

Objectives – Enhancement (long-term):

  • Rental for 60 years or life of the building.
  • Restrictions on stratification.
  • Owned and managed by one entity.

Some of the municipal tools utilized by the City include: 

  • Moratorium on strata conversions
  • Increased density offered through density bonusing or rezoning
  • Reduced parking requirements
  • Reduced building permit fees
  • Concurrent processing of re-zoning and development permit applications
  • Housing agreements

Related Links:

City of New Westminster – Housing page
Secured Market Rental Housing Policy
Secured Market Rental Housing Policy - Presentation, May 2013


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Last month, Metro Vancouver hosted two Sustainability Breakfasts on the subject of rental housing.  The sessions featured three presenters, each discussing local purpose-built rental projects and the municipal tools used to create them:

  • Dena Kae Beno & David Brownlee, City of Richmond – Kiwanis Affordable Seniors Housing Case Study
  • Bev Grieve, City of New Westminster – Secured Market Rental Housing Policy
  • Don Littleford, Metro Vancouver – Heather Place

Richmond staff discussed Kiwanis Towers, a large-scale redevelopment of an aging existing non-profit seniors housing site in Richmond.  This complex project involves multiple partners and a significant municipal role in the form of both policy and funding, and will create 296 units of new seniors housing at affordable rents.

The City of New Westminster presented on their newly adopted Secured Rental Housing Policy for retaining, renewing and enhancing the City’s purpose-built rental housing stock.  The new policy outlines how municipal tools will be used to accomplish these aims, and for new rental, taking into account the length of time the units are secured as rental.

Don Littleford explained Metro Vancouver’s role in housing and in particular, plans for redevelopment of Heather Place in Vancouver to increase the supply of purpose-built rental housing in this transit accessible location, in a manner that is suitable for a diversity of household types, including families.

The key message of these seminars was that purpose-built rental housing, including affordable purpose rental housing for families and seniors, is being created and retained in Metro Vancouver, by a range of stakeholders. The region’s municipalities have some tools in their tool kit that are working to help facilitate new rental housing.

Presentations links:

Kiwanis Affordable Seniors Housing Case Study, City of Richmond
Secured Market Rental Housing Policy, City of New Westminster
Rental Housing Matters, Metro Vancouver

Related Rental Housing Links:

What Works: Affordable Housing Initiatives in Metro Vancouver Municipalities
Metro Vancouver Affordable Housing Strategy
Metro Vancouver Housing Databook
Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation – website
Metro Vancouver Housing Affordability – website

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