Land trusts emerging as a potential housing affordability solution in Vancouver

Land trusts emerging as a potential housing affordability solution in Vancouver

Land trusts emerging as a potential housing affordability solution in Vancouver

A new so-called land-trust foundation in Vancouver is paving the way for an innovative low-cost-housing model that can be implemented amid Canada’s ever-growing home prices, according to the model’s advocates.

The Vancouver Community Land Trust Foundation is currently developing 358 units within the city—all protected from speculators, a step that its proponents hope will spur a new wave of construction in the low-cost-homes segment.

“This is a new take on the market sector. It’s like a social-enterprise development company,” Vancity manager of community investment Kira Gerwig said, as quoted by The Globe and Mail. Vancity is currently involved in the foundation’s current project.

While several strategies to counter the ever-larger roadblock of high home prices have been proposed in the past, observers noted that land trusts have a unique strength: a capacity to unite the land equities and political influence of hundreds of non-profit organizations and cooperatives under the banner of affordable housing development.

“It’s a combination of a vehicle for growth and a way to redevelop some sites we already have to greater density. This is a way to form partnerships,” Co-op Housing Federation of B.C chief executive Thom Armstrong explained.

“We’ve been intrigued by this idea for a long time because of the possibility of achieving something that will meet the community’s needs,” architect and 30-year-resident Richard Evans said.

City planners have not dismissed the idea, and are willing to look into its possible market impact.

“The whole purpose [of the plan just approved] is to help us understand what the trade-offs are around that,” Vancouver manager of community services Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas stated.


 

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