Victoria Monday, April 3, 2023, 11:09 AM
The Homes for People plan will deliver more homes people need in a shorter timeframe and build more vibrant communities throughout B.C.
“If you’ve scrolled through rental listings or seen the prices of homes in your community, you know how tough it is to find an affordable, decent place to live,” said Premier David Eby. “Even though our province is currently building more housing than ever before, it’s just not enough to meet the need. This plan will take us to the next level with unprecedented actions to tackle the challenges head on, delivering even more homes for people, faster.”
Focused on four priorities – unlocking more homes faster; delivering better, more affordable homes; helping those with the greatest housing need; and creating a housing market for people, not speculators – the actions in Homes for People include:
- delivering more middle-income small-scale, multi-unit housing that people can afford, including town homes, duplexes and triplexes through zoning changes and proactive partnerships;
- offering forgivable loans for homeowners to build and rent secondary suites below market rates to increase affordable rental supply quickly;
- building thousands more affordable homes for renters, Indigenous Peoples on and off reserve, women and children leaving violence, and building thousands more on-campus student housing units;
- delivering thousands of new homes near public transit, and launching BC Builds to use public land to deliver affordable homes for people;
- introducing a flipping tax to discourage short-term speculation;
- providing an annual income-tested tax credit of up to $400 per year for renters;
- providing more homes and supports for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness;
- streamlining and modernizing permitting to reduce costs and speed up approvals to get homes built faster; and
- strengthening enforcement of short-term rentals.
“We are in urgent need of more housing throughout British Columbia, which is why we are taking strong steps through our Homes for People strategy to close the gap between supply and demand,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “We are working with our partners to unlock more homes across the spectrum of housing faster than ever, so everyone in our province can have a safe, secure and stable place to call home.”
Building on major new investments to build affordable housing in the past five years and measures to reduce speculation and protect people in an overheated housing market, Homes for People tackles persistent permitting and zoning challenges, facilitating the delivery of the housing people need, faster. The plan unlocks more homes by creating the conditions to encourage faster housing construction and reduce development costs, including changes in regulations and zoning, less red tape, more incentives, and a focus on targeted types of housing.
Homes for People also delivers more housing people can afford to rent or buy, including more homes within reach for first-time homebuyers, and protects renters. It supports those who need it the most with more housing for those experiencing homelessness and helps more people afford to find a place to call home. Actions in the plan also aim to build a housing market that puts people ahead of profit with measures to crack down on speculators and profiteers and get the proceeds of crime out of the real estate market.
Alongside Homes for People, the government is implementing Belonging in BC, a plan to prevent and reduce homelessness. The plan adds 3,900 new supportive housing units and 240 complex-care spaces provincewide, and creates multidisciplinary regional response teams designed to rapidly respond to encampments to better support people sheltering outdoors to move inside.
- Budget 2023 supports the Homes for People action plan, starting with more than $4 billion over three years and a commitment to invest $12 billion over the next 10 years to deliver more homes for people, faster.
- This builds on the 2018 Homes for B.C. plan, which was the largest investment in housing affordability in B.C.’s history – $7 billion – and introduced effective tools to tackle speculation and increase the number of rentals.
- The Province is on track to deliver a projected 108,000 homes completed or under active construction by 2027-28 with tens of thousands more homes to come through other avenues.
- The Belonging in BC homelessness plan is delivered through initiatives across the government and supported by investments of $1.18 billion in Budget 2023, and $633 million in Budget 2022.
- More than 100,000 people moved to B.C. in 2021, and another 150,000 people in 2022, the most in 60 years.
To read the Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Homes_For_People.pdf
To view the technical briefing presentation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Homes4People.pdf
To read the Belonging in BC plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BelongingStrategy.pdf
A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
To access the single window for provincial housing permitting and authorizations, visit: https://permitconnectbc.gov.bc.ca/
Two backgrounders follow.
What people are saying about the Homes for People action plan
Luke Mari, principal, Aryze Developments –
“This action plan represents a meaningful step that will provide relief for the systemic issues that British Columbians have been up against over the last decade. Low supply, speculation, and restrictive zoning policies have resulted in fierce competition and limited housing choice, which impacts the social, environmental and economic prosperity of our province. Safe, affordable and diverse housing options in all neighbourhoods are foundational to the health of our communities and the planet. Building just for the sake of building isn’t good enough; the name says it all, we need Homes for People.”
Marianne Alto, mayor, Victoria –
“We’re grateful for the Province’s leadership in developing this strategy, which will help us reach our goal of creating more affordable homes for people in Victoria. Everyone deserves a good home, and Homes for People provides new initiatives that promote local housing solutions, while recognizing that each community in B.C. is unique. I look forward to seeing the implementation of this updated strategy and continuing to work closely with partners at all levels of government to deliver the homes people need.”
Nathan Pachal, mayor, Langley –
“Langley city’s new Official Community Plan promotes building rowhomes, townhomes, and ’plexes along transit corridors in traditionally single-detached housing areas. In areas not well served by transit, we now allow up to three housing units in the form of a primary residence, secondary suite and coach home on a single lot, as size permits. Rolling out gentle, inclusionary zoning polices will provide more housing options while maintaining neighbourhood character, in line with the Province’s Homes for People plan.”
Patrick Johnstone, mayor, New Westminster –
“Solving the housing crisis needs local government and the Province to work together. The Province is committed to funding the housing we need and giving local government the tools to get it approved and built. Affordable housing, campus housing, rental housing and market housing for working families: this plan addresses the full spectrum.”
Neil Moody, CEO, Canadian Home Builders’ Association of British Columbia –
“Homes for People recognizes the challenge to deliver the hundreds of thousands of homes this province needs. We are pleased to see the B.C. government move forward with bold actions the homebuilding industry has recommended and if implemented effectively, we could see more attainable housing choices, faster.”
Jill Atkey, CEO, B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association –
“The Homes for People action plan is a timely update of the Province’s 10-year strategy, setting a clear course of action for much-needed investments and anticipated policy and legislative changes to address the critical undersupply of housing across the continuum. The community housing sector is a ready and willing partner in the buildout of more than 10,000 net new affordable homes announced with this new plan.”
B.C. government addresses housing challenges
Homes for People will help British Columbians build good lives in their communities, secure a foundation for the economy, and deliver more homes, faster, to build a brighter future and a stronger B.C. for everyone who lives here. Over the course of the action plan, government will deliver on the following priorities, based on four key pillars:
Unlock more homes, faster, by creating the conditions to encourage faster housing construction and reduce development costs, including changes in regulations and zoning, less red tape, more incentives and a focus on targeted types of housing
- Help deliver more small-scale multi-unit townhomes, duplexes and triplexes through zoning changes.
- Make it easier and more affordable for people to rent out secondary and basement suites.
- Work with local governments to make sure more homes are built in communities, faster.
- Speed up permitting and approvals to get homes built faster.
- Make B.C. a North American leader in digital permitting and construction.
- Deliver more homes near transit hubs – up to 10,000 homes over the next 10-15 years.
- Launch BC Builds, a new program dedicated to delivering more homes for middle-income households.
- Expand B.C.’s construction workforce and spur innovation.
- Explore new ways to build new rentals and maintain purpose-built rentals.
- Build more homes with mass timber.
Deliver more housing people can afford to rent or buy, including more homes within reach for first-time homebuyers, and protect renters
- Create thousands more social housing units over the next 10 years, including 6,000 more units for renters, including families and seniors through the Community Housing Fund, 1,750 more homes for Indigenous Peoples on- and off-reserve, and 1,500 additional homes to support women and children escaping violence.
- Deliver 4,000 additional on-campus student housing rooms for post-secondary students.
- End discriminatory age and rental restrictions in stratas. 55+ bylaws will still be permitted with reasonable exemptions.
- Protect affordable rental units through a $500-million Rental Protection Fund.
- Create more housing through partnerships with Indigenous communities.
- Revitalize co-op housing.
Support those who need it the most with more housing for those experiencing homelessness, and help more people afford to find a place to call home
- Provide a new income tested renters’ tax credit that will put as much as $400 annually back into the pockets of B.C. renters with moderate and low incomes.
- Deliver more homes for people experiencing homelessness:
- 3,900 additional supportive housing units for people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.
- 240 additional purpose-built complex care housing units at approximately 12 locations around the province to support people with more complex mental-health and addictions challenges.
- Create new teams and temporary housing options to close encampments and better support people in encampments to access housing.
- Partner to redevelop and replace single room occupancy (SRO) housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
- Revitalize and expand aging BC Housing properties.
- Offer more rent bank support to help tenants in crisis keep their homes.
Create a housing market that puts people ahead of profit with measures to crack down on speculators and profiteers and get real-estate criminals out of the market
- Implement a “flipping tax.”
- Stricter enforcement on short-term rentals.
- Solve renter/landlord disputes faster and get tougher on bad-faith evictions.
- Turn more empty units into homes by committing to expand the speculation and vacancy tax to additional areas.
- Crack down on criminal activity in real estate.
- Offer more protections for renters displaced by redevelopment.