Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency adds 145 units of social housing in Mount Pleasant

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2221 Main St is City’s housing agency’s first of four affordable rental projects on $50 million of City land for working families and singles

The rezoning of the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) site at 2221 Main St. was approved by Vancouver City Council Tuesday evening. The new development will add 145 new affordable homes for families and individuals in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. This project is the first of four on City-owned land that was offered to senior governments to build affordable housing in partnership with VAHA.

“It’s great to see VAHA develop its first 145 new affordable homes on City-owned land, in a central neighbourhood well-served by transit and amenities,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We established VAHA as a way for the City to be actively delivering new affordable housing for our residents and, as Vancouver’s rental and housing crisis persists, VAHA’s affordable housing projects are making a real difference in providing safe and secure housing for people who live and work in Vancouver.”

The building will be developed by Catalyst Community Development Society and Marcon Developments Ltd. It will be a nine-storey mixed-use building with 145 social housing units and will include an open space to be redeveloped by Vancouver Park Board.

In the proposed mix from the developers, the building would include 28 studio units (19 per cent), 45 one-bedroom units (31 per cent), 42 two-bedroom units (29 per cent), and 30 three-bedroom units (21 per cent).

At least 44 of the units (30 per cent) will be rented to a maximum of BC Housing Income Limits, and average rents across all homes will not exceed 80 per cent of average area rental rates. Though average rent will be below market rate, deeper affordability will be achieved if provincial and federal governments also contribute financial support to 2221 Main St.

“This development will provide much needed affordable housing for residents and families in the Mount Pleasant community,” says Luke Harrison, CEO, VAHA. “With the addition of these 145 rental homes, VAHA is continuing to deliver innovative housing solutions for those who live and work in Vancouver.”

Since VAHA’s creation in June 2014, it has become the single largest initiator of affordable housing projects, with 19 new housing sites in development. VAHA has taken several innovative steps to address the housing affordability crisis, to add permanent affordable rental housing to the market, and to develop temporary affordable rental housing units in Vancouver:

  • VAHA is currently working toward the delivery of 2,200 new affordable rental housing units on City-owned land, with 19 new housing sites currently in development.
  • VAHA opened Vancouver’s first temporary modular housing project comprised of 40 new affordable rental housing units at 220 Terminal Avenue. The project was completed in approximately nine months and has garnered financial support from Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Vancity.
  • A total of nine sites put forward by VAHA, including three in the East Fraserlands River District neighbourhood, are in the planning and design phases. These projects will create approximately 1,000 units of new affordable rental housing.

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