The New Era for Affordable Housing w/ Thom Armstrong

//The New Era for Affordable Housing w/ Thom Armstrong

The New Era for Affordable Housing w/ Thom Armstrong

Thom Armstrong, CEO, CHFBC in studio at Vancouver Co-op Radio

Thom Armstrong, CEO, CHFBC in studio at Vancouver Co-op Radio

We had the privilege of hosting Thom Armstrong, CEO of the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHFBC), in studio at Vancouver Co-op Radio. Thom shared insights into the transformative developments and ambitious projects underway in the co-operative housing sector in British Columbia. Topics include:

  • BC Builds Program: The exciting launch of the BC Builds program, a groundbreaking initiative blending city participation with provincial and federal funds to spur affordable housing developments. This program is promising to deliver a significant number of homes that are affordable to middle-income families, including 112 new co-operative homes at Davie and Seymour in downtown Vancouver. Its innovative approach includes leveraging public, co-op, and non-profit land, offering $4 billion in affordable construction financing, through provincial and recently matching federal funds. 
  • Rental Protection Fund: A testament to the power of advocacy and community effort, the Rental Protection Fund, as Armstrong detailed, aims to preserve the affordability of over a hundred thousand homes, including 290 co-op housing units in Coquitlam

    Thom addressed the critical balance between new housing development and the preservation of existing affordable units:
    “Imagine being focused on new housing supply, so you’re rolling that rug out in front of you, and for every foot of rug you roll out in front, three to four feet are rolling up behind you.”

  • Co-operative Housing Expansion: Progress on leasehold co-ops in Vancouver, illustrating the ongoing efforts to renew and expand co-op homes to keep valuable land in non-market housing. 
  • Community Land Trust of BC: The acquisition of two Coquitlam co-ops and the opening of new co-op homes in downtown Vancouver, showcasing the strength of community land trusts in securing affordable housing. 

It’s clear that the journey towards affordable housing is multifaceted, requiring the collaboration of various stakeholders. Thom’s discussion points are not just a report on progress; it’s a roadmap for future action, highlighting the importance of innovative programs, community engagement, and the preservation of affordable housing.

While celebrating provincial successes, Thom expressed a desire for national engagement, particularly lamenting the absence of a new federal co-op housing program. However, he maintained a hopeful outlook on future collaborations to enhance the co-operative housing framework across Canada.

Thom’s reflections on the power of collective action and advocacy in securing these advancements underscore the critical role of the co-operative movement in shaping public policy and investment in affordable housing. His vision for housing extends an invitation to imagine a future where housing is not just a market commodity but a fundamental human right accessible to all.

We invite you to dig deeper into Thom Armstrong and the CHFBC’s visionary work by listening to more interviews on Each For All’s archives

Read the full transcript of this episode

Visit Co-op Housing Federation of BC’s website:


By |2024-02-25T20:30:32-08:00February 20th, 2024|Show|0 Comments

About the Author:

Host and executive producer Robin Puga has been with Each For All from its beginning in 2006. Robin studied at the British Columbia Institute of Co-operative Studies (BCICS) and is active in the co-op community. In addition to working in the technology sector he’s a founding member of the CanTrust worker co-op and previous board member of the BC Co-op Association.

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