*For immediate release*

VANCOUVER COAST SALISH TERRITORIES – Today [July 24th] Vancouver City Council is voting on components of its "Making Room/Missing Middle" rezoning policies. COPE City Council candidates call on City Hall to prioritize housing for people who earn under $50,000 across the city. Anne Roberts, Derrick O’Keefe and Jean Swanson say that the city’s “Making Room” report doesn’t go far enough to provide lower-income non-market housing.

“For too long, neighbourhood plans and upzoning have been concentrated in lower-income neighbourhoods, leading to displacement and hardship for renters and working people,” said Derrick O’Keefe. “Meanwhile some people in wealthier, lower-density neighbourhoods have unfortunately resisted making room for lower-income, social, and supportive housing.”

In the City’s proposed plan, a majority of new development will be market housing for people with incomes over $80,000. COPE wants the City create housing for households earning under $50,000 in these neighbourhoods.

“If you earn over $80,000 a year, the City’s options for you include town-homes, infill, laneway housing, duplexes and condos,” said Jean Swanson. “But if you don’t have that income your option is a blanket on the sidewalk.”

“We need beautiful public housing like they have in Vienna, with swimming pools, community spaces and daycares,” added Swanson. “People should be able to live in a community at an affordable rent and not have to rely selling your home to afford retirement, a community like our co-ops provide now.”

COPE Council candidates are calling for creative approaches to build non-market housing across the city.

“The City needs to pull out all the stops and use all of its staff’s creativity to find new ways to take housing out of the market so people who aren’t millionaires can afford to live here,” said Derrick O’Keefe.

“That’s why a Mansion tax is crucial to affordable housing in Vancouver,” added O’Keefe. “With this tax on mansions worth over $5 Million, the city could have enough revenue to actually build hundreds of units of social housing every year.”

O’Keefe also called on the city to put social and modular housing in all neighbourhoods and to ensure that non-market housing be prioritized when upzoning beyond duplexes and triplexes.

“How can we ensure that zoning changes don’t promote a speculation frenzy? How can we capture the increased value of zoning changes and put it into non-market housing so everyone can afford to live here? Those are questions we’ll be working to answer on Council, “ said Anne Roberts.

“We need to determine how to expand the City’s land-holdings, including land held in Property Endowment Fund, by strategically selling assets to acquire a larger number of suitable sites for public housing,” added Roberts.

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