22 September - Vancouver Island non-profit housing providers issue calls to action in advance of municipal elections
Victoria, BC – Fourteen non-profit housing providers from Vancouver Island released a list of calls to action for local governments and candidates for office today in Victoria. The organizations, together under the banner of the Vancouver Island Housing Leadership Network (VIHLN), oversee over 6,000 housing units across Vancouver Island with over 1,000 more in pre-development or under construction.
"The housing crisis in British Columbia is dire, and we're in the middle of some very important local elections," said Corinne Saad, Executive Director of Gorge View Society. "Municipalities must be active participants in facilitating the construction of purpose-built affordable and supportive housing and retention of that affordability, while working with non-profits to ensure the right level of support is accessible to all where and when they need it."
The six calls to action include:
1. Establish a ‘Housing Centre'
- establish a separate Housing Centre with elevated status within each municipality to facilitate and accelerate the approval of affordable and supportive housing proposals and promote an affordable housing lens through all departments' decisions and policies.
2. Unlock land
- unlock access to municipal land, improving the financial viability of developing new housing.
3. Implement financial exemptions
- commit to exemptions for non-profit developers for property taxes, development cost charges (DCCs), and municipal improvement obligations.
4. Accelerate processes
- adopt and expand on the example of the City of Victoria in approving an accelerated process for new affordable housing projects consistent with the Official Community Plan.
5. Promote collaboration
- promote municipal collaboration with our organizations and health authorities to ensure the right level of support is available to individuals in crisis when they need it.
6. Access collective expertise
- consider the VIHLN as a resource as councillors endeavour to understand the complex challenges and barriers exacerbating the current situation to effectively advocate at the provincial and federal levels for the change our communities desperately need.
We're calling on all candidates for municipal office to consider these calls to action in their platforms, and all voters to press their candidates to endorse these actions," added Carolina Ibarra, CEO of Pacifica Housing. "We need everyone to work together to be successful – this issue is far too important to get lost in the usual fray of local politics."
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