Costly social housing: monthly rents up to $4,700 per unit at new Vancouver development

Posted by Michael La Prairie on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 at 1:06pm.

Costly social housing: monthly rents up to $4,700 per unit at new Vancouver development

 

A range of rents will apply at a new “social housing” project in Vancouver.

For most of the 299 social housing units proposed at 950 West 41st Avenue, it will be “full market” rates.

For three-bedroom units, the rents will start from $3,900 up to $4,700 per month.

For two-bedroom units, the monthly rents will range from $3,250 to $3,370.

For one-bedroom units, it’s $2,400 per month.

These full-market-rate rentals constitute 60 percent of the 299 social housing units that will be part of the planned redevelopment of the Jewish Community Centre.

According to a City of Vancouver staff report on the proposed rezoning for 950 West 41st Avenue, 10 percent of the entire social housing development will form what is considered as “for-profit affordable housing”.

The term “for-profit affordable housing” is simply another classification for market-rate rentals.

So for 10 percent of the 299 social housing units, the following monthly rents will apply: $3,702 for three-bedroom units; $2,756, two-bedroom units; and $1,903, one-bedroom units.

The development is considered “social housing” in its entirety because 30 percent of the units will be for renters who cannot afford to pay average market rents.

Under the administration of the ruling Vision Vancouver party, the City of Vancouver has changed the definition of social housing.

Social housing used to mean affordable housing as a whole. Now it’s an entire development where up to 70 percent of units can be rented at market rates.

Because the 299-unit development is considered as social housing, the project will get a city subsidy.

The proponent will be spared from paying development cost levies amounting to $9.3 million.

For the proposed project at 950 West 41st Avenue, 30 percent of the units are going to households earning below what B.C. Housing classifies as Housing Income Limits (HILs).

According to B.C. Housing, HILs represent the income level needed to pay for the average rent of a roughly equivalent unit in the private rental market.

The 2018 HILs table for Vancouver lists the following: an annual income of $41,500 to afford a studio unit; $48,000, one bedroom; $58,000, two bedrooms; $68,000, three bedrooms; and $83,500, four bedrooms.

For the 30 percent of the 299 social housing units, rent will start at $1,010 for a one-bedroom unit; $1,250, two bedrooms; and $1,500, three bedrooms.

The social housing units will be at two 24-storey and 26-storey towers.

The towers will be part of a new mixed-use building at the western part of the property. The building will include additional spaces for the Jewish Community Centre, and commercial uses.

The current three-storey community centre will be replaced by a new nine-storey building at eastern portion of the site.

Vancouver city council has referred the proposed rezoning of 950 West 41st Avenue to a public hearing. 


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