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Housing

There’s no denying that Victoria is in a housing crisis. There’s many pieces of the puzzle that can help solve this problem. The disparity between renters and home-owners continues to grow at an alarming rate. The gap is widening under our current behaviours. The answer lies in addressing both supply and demand.

 

To increase supply, we need to build more units. Not only do we need to build more units in general, we need to build 2-3 bedroom units to accommodate growing families.Vacancy rates for 2 bedroom units are 0.2%  and 0.6% for 3 bedrooms according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Rental Market Report in 2021.

 

Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Rental Market Report in 2021

 

We want to be a city where families can thrive. In order for families to stay in our communities, we must create housing suitable for parents with multiple children. Increasing zoning for duplexes and 4-plexes is a simple way to increase the total number of units without dramatically changing the characteristics of our neighbourhoods.

 

4 plex

This 4 plex being built matches the current characteristics of the neighbourhood and blends in well.

 

Building low-rise housing and small townhouse complexes near transit routes and urban villages makes our city more efficient. Utilising existing all-abilities bike and public transit routes decreases the need for cars and decrease the impact that densification has on residential parking. Building plexes in all residential neighbourhoods add diversity, not only in housing structures, but people whether socio-economic status and age and stage of life. Diversity enriches our city. Like how diversity of culture and art make a community richer, strong neighbourhoods are diverse; and census data shows many of our communities in Victoria lack diversity. The data is clear that where housing availability increases, so does diversity.

The Missing Middle Housing Initiative addresses a lot of these issues streamlining the process for building more units on existing single family lots. It gives landowners the flexibility to do more with their land, too. We need greater housing diversity. We need townhomes, row homes, 4 and 6 plexes. Plexes and townhomes are a great step towards housing that is more affordable. 70% of Victoria’s land are zoned for single family homes, which are not attainable to diverse populations. Our current zoning does not allow for any changes in the number of units a parcel of land can have, hence the supply issue remains in crisis. We need more units of housing overall, which is why I support the Missing Middle Housing Initiative overall.

I understand that this policy does not create affordable housing for the most vulnerable; however, increasing the supply decreases the cost of housing by dampening competition. Shifting perspectives of housing as homes first and investments second is important so that we can truly have ‘homes for all’.

Please see my views on Homelessness and Affordable Housing.

Garden Homes, Tiny Homes, and Container Homes

Expediting garden suite approvals is a step in the right direction. Garden homes are meant for long term rentals and using garden homes as a vacation rental is prohibited. Further, by using creative solutions such as finding suitable locations for  permanent container homes villages and legalising tiny homes on private land, we can add more units to our community and even provide current home-owners with supplementary income.

“Tiny homes aren’t for everyone but they can and should be part of the solution to our housing crisis. It is just plain wrong that this sustainable and affordable way of living continues to be illegal. Tiny home owners deserve a place to settle into and support the community they love without the daily fear of eviction.”

Karen Kehler, cofounder of Tiny House Advocates of Vancouver Island

 

Legalizing tiny homes is the low hanging fruit of housing policy. Currently, all tiny homes are illegal due to lack of regulation. The International Residential Code already includes building code specifically for tiny homes safely, without rewriting design standards. By legalizing tiny homes, Victoria can lead the nation in increasing supply by building tiny homes. Rent for a tiny home pad is merely $500 a month, which is a lot more affordable than any comparable apartment.

 

There’s more to the Housing Crisis. Please feel free to read my thoughts on Homelessness and Affordable Housing.

I propose:

  • Increasing development of 2-3+ bedroom suites suitable for families
  • Turning single detached homes into duplexes and multi-unit suites for more units overall while maintaining the look and feel of neighbourhoods
  • Considering low-rise and small townhouse complexes surrounding transit routes
  • Increasing creative solutions such as building garden suites, carriageway homes, and legalizing tiny homes
  • Dis-incentivizing empty homes through fees and taxation
  • Dis-incentivizing non-local investment home purchases following review of a speculation report

Read more about my platform: