Finally some good news in the affordable housing sector!
Thom Armstrong CEO of Cooperative Housing Federation of BC joins us in studio at Vancouver Co-op Radio to discuss the latest developments in BC’s ongoing urgent concern for affordable housing. The highlights are the British Columbia provincial government, under new premier David Eby, creating a $500 million Rental Housing Protection Fund for BC. The Fund will protect existing older rental housing stock often sold to investors and displacing tenants paying affordable rents. The fund will be jointly managed and distributed through a newly created non-profit society led by the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA), BC Non-Profit Housing Association‘ (BCNPHA), and the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHF BC). As many of you know, these teams have been leaders under the banner of Housing Central in the past decade.
This is amazing news for affordable housing in BC. We have covered affordable housing with Thom for many years here on Each For All. This was the first time Thom ever said, “We finally got what we asked for!”
Thom shares other news from Ottawa about the support for federal subsidies for housing co-ops (to support co-ops through 2028), the additional co-op land leases renewals in the Lower Mainland, as well as the Community Land Trust’s success with 600 units under construction right now.
Amazing times in the fight for affordable housing in BC. Listen in to Thom for the latest updates.
In the second half of the show, we speak with Randy Oliwa, president of the board, of Pacific Rim Housing Development Co-operative in Ucluelet, BC.
Ucluelet is struggling like many BC remote and rural communities. AirBnB and investment housing purchases have driven rental markets out of control, making it impossible to find affordable housing to recruit and retain employees.
Randy Oliwa shares the story of a group of local business owners. Not your traditional housing co-op, but one that will create a minimum 40 units of affordable housing in their community. Since 2020, the group has grown to over 11 businesses looking to create the co-op which will fund designing, building and then managing the rental housing development at affordable rates in their community. They call themselves “non-market developers” which is exactly what we’ve learned over the years here on Each For All is one of the surest ways to temper an unaffordable housing market (ie. taking housing out of the speculative market).
The exciting thing about this development plan is that the community and its municipality have already come together in the past to support a similar model for seniors’ independent living accommodations. With a supportive community, we will have to keep our eye on this co-operative endeavour and check in on its progress again soon.