The City of Coquitlam began work last fall on creating a “Strategy for Housing Affordability” to replace the original “Affordable Housing Strategy” published in 2007. The key driver for this work is the advent of Evergreen Line development and the expected impact on aging, lower rent housing adjacent to the Burquitlam Sky Train Station – however the growing gap between incomes and shelter cost in the Tri-Cities is an underlying factor. The City has important decisions to make on this issue, in particular its role in facilitating housing affordability, the use of the City’s resources such as land for this purpose, and the fate of the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund.
Planning staff recently published a “Housing Affordability Discussion Paper” to provide Council with some of the information it will require to make informed decisions on the issue of housing affordability. The discussion paper presents a dilemma. It suggests the City shift its approach from focusing on the provision of ‘below market’ affordable housing solutions to one that aims at promoting housing affordability across the housing continuum. However, it also advises that by 2023 it is estimated that Coquitlam will need almost 4,000 new below market units for ‘higher need households’ who would otherwise spend more than 50% of their income on shelter (and consequently be at-risk of homelessness). Does the City have a role to play in closing this gap?
There will be an opportunity for public review and input into a draft framework for Coquitlam’s new Strategy for Housing Affordability – most likely this fall – before the strategy is finalized by Council.
To learn more about the process for creating the new affordability strategy and opportunities for public input, visit the City of Coquitlam’s Social Planning – Housing Affordability webpage. To view the Housing Affordability Discussion Paper, visit the webpage or click on the icon below: