Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

City offers land for innovative affordable rental units

The City of Vancouver is asking developers to submit proposals for affordable rental housing on six pieces of city-owned land.

The city has issued a Request For Expression of Interest (RFEOI) for below-market rate rental housing on six plots of land, mostly in the southeast Vancouver area, with a completion date of 2015. The request is part of the city's "Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2012-2021," in particular the "More Homes, More Affordability Program," section promoting creativity in housing solutions for people who require below-market rental rates.

"Part of the RFEOI is to find out if we provide you the land at a nominal lease, really cheap, what kind of building would you build, and what would the rents be?" City Councillor Kerry Jang told The Tyee.

"But what's important is it has to be below market value."

With the possibility of 500 new units from the project, Jang says the city is hoping developers will partner with non-profits to keep the rents down for low to moderate-income residents.

"It's meant for people just starting out in life who have a low income right now and their circumstances could change; for people who are tired of paying higher rents, living in somebody's musty old basement or some run-down suite; for folks who are looking for somewhere to live close to work, somewhere where they can get close to transit and they don't have to spend all of their money," he says.

Jang says market value is determined by looking at the rental rates for similar units in the area. He also echoes housing activists' definition of affordable as renters having money left over to live their lives after they pay rent.

The location of the units is no accident, either. Southeast Vancouver is a growing residential neighbourhood, according to Jang, and close to major public transit routes like the Marine Drive Canada Line station. But the city is still looking for more land across Vancouver to use for rental units.

RFEOIs are due September 18, with a shortlist of candidates will be announced in October, followed by a more detailed Request for Proposals. Finalists will be determined in early 2013.

Katie Hyslop reports on youth and education issues for The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus