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City approves sweeping homelessness and housing strategy

As part of its goal to end homelessness in Vancouver by 2015, city council approved a new strategy on housing and homelessness today.

The 10-year plan aims to dramatically increase the supply of affordable housing options over the course of the decade, says Brenda Prosken, deputy general manager of community services for the City of Vancouver.

According to a summary of the plan, the City will oversee the development of over 38,000 additional affordable housing units by 2021.

While some of these new units will come in the form of new supportive housing and social housing developments, the majority will be privately owned and administered. This city plans to meet this goal through a combination of investment, changes to zoning regulation, and adjustments to the tax code.

The city also aims to increase the mix of housing and shelter opinions within each neighborhood -- rather than confining supportive housing developments and shelters to one area of the city -- and to coordinate funding and planning between local non-profits, charities, and businesses, along with provincial and federal agencies.

"This is a strategy that by no means can be brought to fruition by the city alone," says Prosken. "It is absolutely dependent on having all our partners and community stakeholders at the table and making investments as well."

Today's report comes after a three-month consultation process between April and June in which city officials received feedback on its draft proposal from community organizations, local business leaders, property owners, and academic institutions.

The plan received the full support of city council with the exception of Councillor Suzanne Anton.

"Gregor Robertson's new housing strategy is an un-costed muddle with no clear path to create new housing," says Anton on the NPA website.

Ben Christopher is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

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