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Metro Vancouver mayors ask province for more funding for affordable housing

Mayors want $190 million in grants, additional loan financing from provincial government
David Eby, B.C. Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, speaks during a social housing funding announcement in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Metro Vancouver mayors are asking the provincial government for more support to provide affordable housing in the region.

Housing Minister David Eby acknowledged when he spoke to the mayors committee meeting Wednesday that there is an “endless appetite” for the provincial and federal governments to provide more support for affordable housing.

Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley told Eby the Metro Vancouver 10-year housing plan will provide a “meaningful contribution” to addressing the housing crisis by adding 2,000 new or redeveloped units, but says they can’t do it alone.

He says they want $190 million in grant funding and additional loan financing from the provincial government, and the same amount from the federal government to meet their targets.

Eby, who’s also the attorney general, says there’s a need for cities and municipalities to work with the provincial and federal governments to reach the housing goals.

The minister says one of his main concerns is getting faster approval from local governments to build to meet the needs of the “population explosion” in B.C.

Statistics released Wednesday by the Jobs Ministry show more than 100,000 people moved to B.C. in 2021,the highest annual total since 1961, which Eby says is exacerbating the already challenging housing crisis.

“These numbers are not going to go down. We expect they’re going to stay at that level or even increase, especially with the possibility of people joining us from Ukraine, so that is the urgency that I feel around housing supply and the challenge that faces us in terms of the availability of rental housing as well as housing stock generally.”

He says he plans to tackle the issue collaboratively with Nathan Cullen, the newly appointed municipal affairs minister, and municipal leaders.

“Metro Vancouver’s a great place to have this discussion because this is a regional issue,” Eby says. “This is not a bunch of small municipalities (making) their own decisions about whether or not to allow housing. This is a regional challenge. Regional growth is exploding and … we need to respond at a regional level.”

—Brieanna Charlebois, The Canadian Press

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