With vacancy rates hovering as low as one per cent across Metro Vancouver, having a roof over a family’s head is as difficult as it has ever been.
In an attempt to relieve some pressure on some lower income families and seniors in Pitt Meadows, the city is looking to team up with Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation to build a new affordable housing complex.
“It’s about quality of life,” said Pitt Meadows mayor Bill Dingwall.
“All of council believe this is really important for us. It’s about trying to find a place in Pitt Meadows for those who are struggling to find housing.”
During Tuesday’s council session, the councillors agreed, by a 7-0 vote, to make an application to MVHC to be part of a program where the corporation agrees to build community housing in eligible cities.
The MVHC board has approved $4 million over the next ten years for the program.
Dingwall said the partnership – if agreed upon – will involve the city providing land to MVHC either free of cost or with a nominal lease, at which point the corporation will build and manage community housing onsite.
The model will see housing be available at 10 to 20 per cent under market rent, or 30 per cent of gross household income.
“The beauty of the program is Metro Vancouver [Housing Corporation] operates it, and runs it, and looks after the leases,” Dingwall said.
“The value for our city is that it provides more options for affordable housing for our population. Whether you’re young, or old, or working with a family, and trying to live in Metro Vancouver area; it provides options.”
MVHC has 49 sites across Metro Vancouver with over 3,400 housing units and 9,400 tenants.
Pitt Meadows currently has four affordable housing cooperatives: Meadowlands, Ford Road, Meadows, and Harris Road.
The new location, if chosen will be adjacent to the Civic Centre in what is now a gravel parking lot.
According to a report offered at council on Feb. 25, the location scores high with MVHC requirements for proximity to amenities, schools, day cares, greenspace and recreation.”
Dingwall said one of the other criteria the board will look at when making their decision is regional equity.
Since there is not a MVHC site in Pitt Meadows already, the mayor likes their chances of being chosen.
The deadline for intake for the program is April 3 and Dingwall said a decision could be made as soon as late June.
“We’re excited,” Dingwall said.
“We want to try and do this for our community, and it’s really in support of the whole social planning and recognition of how costly it is to live in the Metro Vancouver area.”