The Urban Project in Vancouver: A Focus On Rental Housing

VANCOUVER — Today, The Urban Project – a forum to leverage expertise within all orders of government, civil society, the private sector, and academia – took place in Vancouver, bringing together leaders from across the country to discuss Canada’s housing affordability challenges.

Housing affordability is a clear national challenge, and the pressures are immense, including urban growth, increasing land and construction costs, as well as the deep impact of speculative investors.

Today’s participants unpacked the complex factors driving the growing disconnect between incomes and rents. With facilitation by urbanist Mary Rowe, guests included Derek Ballantyne, Board Chair of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Shayne Ramsay, CEO of BC Housing, and Sean Gadon from the City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Office. The day’s host, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, delivered a tone-setting keynote.

“We are encouraged that so many national partners are gathering here in Vancouver to discuss the importance of a healthy housing system and more affordable housing options for Canadians,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “There are few urban centers in Canada that feel the pressures on housing as acutely as Vancouver, which is why our local efforts have been so aggressive. Cities like ours are pushing the limits of our toolboxes to build the housing families and workers need – and are counting on continued action from the federal government and every partner possible to help us build communities that work for everyone.”

Attendees included mayors from some of Canada’s largest cities, representatives from BC Housing and CMHC, and leaders from the private and public sectors.

“Housing affordability, particularly the pressures on low and median-income households, is a significant factor in Canada’s economic productivity and growth potential,” said Alan Broadbent, Chairman and founder of Maytree. “We are tremendously excited that this second iteration of The Urban Project is taking place in a city facing some of the most unique and challenging housing conditions anywhere in the country, and actively engaging in innovative responses.”

“Having a safe place to call home is a deeply local challenge,” said Brock Carlton, CEO of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. “Cities and communities from coast to coast are on the frontlines of the fight to ensure people have quality housing that is affordable, and rental housing is a critically under-examined part of that mix. Working together with partners in the private sector and civil society, we can continue to build better lives for Canadians through solutions to the housing affordability crisis.”

The Urban Project was founded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Maytree, and is generously supported by TD Bank Group, Metcalf Foundation and the McConnell Foundation. TheUrbanProject.ca

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