Affordable Housing

beachwear
Fledgling
Posts: 147
Joined: Apr 26th, 2009, 3:27 pm

Affordable Housing

Post by beachwear »

I've been recieving some feedback about what I would do to address the Affordable Housing issue in Kelowna. So I figured I'd do some research on the subject and try and come up with some logical solutions. That's when I came accross your postings on the subject on the forum. The first posting of yours I came accross were the pictures of the converted shipping containers. It was like deja vu. A couple of years ago I was working on my own project, "Operation Homeless" I called it, and the objective was to provide converted shipping containers (much like the ones in your photos) to homeless people. I actually got as far as having a meeting with some of the City planning people, (including the Mayor) on the subject. (She seems really nice by the way.) Anyways, I have an entire file on the project, and thought I was making some progress but was ultimaly met by what I considered to be very stiff resistance from the City Planning Manager (Teresa Eichler) on the issue of where to put such a project. She kind of left me with the opinion that it was completly impossible to find a location and to not even bother trying. She seems to really love having studies about the problem though.

I still have some contact with manufacturers in Europe and China where I believe that these types of projects have gained a larger foothold, and it seems that the cost of these units is reasonable, but the question has always been where to put them. Did you find the same thing too? I simply can't believe that with all the space the City owns, there's not the room anywhere for such a project. Call me naive if you like.

I was also wondering, from your experience, what were your thoughts, suggestions, comments etc on the subject. Both from an affordable housing and a housing for the Homeless perspective?

Thanks,

Cal
User avatar
Queen K
Queen of the Castle
Posts: 64730
Joined: Jan 31st, 2007, 11:39 am

Re: Affordable Housing

Post by Queen K »

Hi Cal,

Only 72 pages of research available but it's a start.

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=14059&hilit=+affordable+housing

Good luck with your campaign.
Want your bags of leaves gone? Put a "free" sign on them out by the road so people can grab them.
beachwear
Fledgling
Posts: 147
Joined: Apr 26th, 2009, 3:27 pm

Re: Affordable Housing

Post by beachwear »

Queen K wrote:Hi Cal,

Only 72 pages of research available but it's a start.

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=14059&hilit=+affordable+housing

Good luck with your campaign.


Thanks Queen, looks like I've got some more reading to do.
John500
Grand Pooh-bah
Posts: 2084
Joined: Jun 29th, 2007, 7:20 am

Re: Affordable Housing

Post by John500 »

I am very simplistic. Put in place that any development has 10% for subsidized housing. Its that simple. But you really think that will work in Kelowna. Really think a developer that builds something in the mission is willing to have 10% going to subsidized units. Of course not as we live in a class divided city. Like so many others.
beachwear
Fledgling
Posts: 147
Joined: Apr 26th, 2009, 3:27 pm

Re: Affordable Housing

Post by beachwear »

Best answer John! This is what Bylaws are really for. Although 15% would be a better #.

Cal
Mank
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 19th, 2010, 12:50 am

Re: Affordable Housing

Post by Mank »

I sincerely doubt that any developer would go for it as well, as much as I'd love to live amongst the moderately successful instead of being borderline homeless all of the time.
User avatar
GenesisGT
Guru
Posts: 5215
Joined: Jun 19th, 2010, 12:21 pm

Re: Affordable Housing

Post by GenesisGT »

I still have some contact with manufacturers in Europe and China where I believe that these types of projects have gained a larger foothold


Don't forget the southern redneck affordable housing solution.


housing.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Ladies and gentlemen, the future lies in the future!
36Drew
Grand Pooh-bah
Posts: 2649
Joined: Mar 29th, 2009, 3:32 pm

Re: Affordable Housing

Post by 36Drew »

Mank wrote:I sincerely doubt that any developer would go for it as well, as much as I'd love to live amongst the moderately successful instead of being borderline homeless all of the time.


Well if it was required, it wouldn't matter if the developers liked the idea or not - if they wanted to build here then they would have to follow the regulation. It seems to have worked out just fine for the City of Langford.
I'd like to change your mind, but I don't have a fresh diaper.
User avatar
ScottRoss
Fledgling
Posts: 281
Joined: Apr 5th, 2008, 7:27 pm

Re: Affordable Housing

Post by ScottRoss »

From my platform (http://scottrossforkelowna.com/platform/):

I support a comprehensive strategy that uses market and non-market approaches to increase affordable housing in Kelowna.

We need affordable housing, not only for the good of our community, for those in transition and for those in difficulty, but we need affordable housing for the good of our economy. Businesses need workers, and workers need places to live. To address the need for housing we need a holistic, comprehensive approach, one that deals with the issue on every front.

To increase affordable housing in our community I will:
-Encourage and negotiate increases in the availability of rental units in new developments.
-Allow secondary suites in all zones.
-Move from "per unit" development cost charges to "per square foot" to encourage developers to build smaller more affordable apartments and houses.
-Change planning standards for affordable housing developments to decrease requirements for costly additions such as extra parking stalls.
-Promote mixed-use buildings to increase housing diversity and encourage growth in existing communities.
-Endorse green initiatives that reduce the operating costs of housing units.
-Support the creation of a national housing strategy to provide clarity on the responsibilities among the three levels of government to provide affordable housing.

Locally we need to look at both the demand and the supply side of affordable housing. To reduce the demand for affordable housing we need to offer those with lower incomes meaningful employment, secure work, and a living wage so they can afford housing. With one of the highest business property tax rates in the region, I believe a lower business tax would make Kelowna competitive with other cities in the Okanagan and attract businesses and jobs here.

To increase the supply of affordable housing we must broaden our scope, non-market solutions like social housing, housing grants, and the Housing Opportunities Reserve Fund are dependable, and will be needed, but we must also look at market solutions that make housing units cheaper.

One market solution is using development cost charges to promote the creation of affordable housing. Development Cost Charges (DCCs) are levies on developments to pay for city infrastructure that will connect to those properties. Currently Kelowna applies DCCs for every individual housing unit, and since the charge does not depend on size, it only encourages developers to build larger expensive homes to increase profit margins. To encourage the development of smaller, more affordable homes I will act to have our development cost charges apply to square footage.

Kelowna does have a density gradient to reflect the lower cost of infrastructure associated with high density locations however it is a broad policy based on "per unit" that does not reflect differences in varying housing sizes. BC affordable housing agencies recommend DCCs being based on square footage and Vancouver and other cities have adopted this DCC structure. To encourage developers to build high density, affordable units, Kelowna needs to have development cost charges that are based on square footage.

A priority in our city's strategy to increase affordable housing must also focus on increasing the amount of rental units. For new residential properties it is important to work with developers to promote, negotiate and, depending on the size, mandate a proportion of housing units as rental.

Further encouragement of housing diversity would also increase availability of affordable housing. I support allowing secondary suites in all zones and the creation of mixed-use land developments, a combination of residential and commercial, particularly in existing communities. These policies would reduce the cost of infrastructure required, create smaller, more affordable units, and allow opportunities for diverse neighbourhoods where people can live, work, and play.

Building regulations can also be enhanced to make housing more attainable for those with lower incomes. Cost-effective green building standards that reduce energy and water consumption will lower the operating expenses for residents and help to make housing more affordable. Easing certain development requirements such as extra parking stalls will also reduce the cost of individual units.

In confronting the issue of affordable housing we must also think outside of our city limits. Affordable housing is a complex issue and involves many factors, federal and provincial governments have a role to play and any strategy must ultimately include them. I support a national housing strategy to provide transparency and accountability by assigning funding and planning responsibilities among our different levels of governments.

To address affordable housing we have to use every option available, and we as citizens, developers, builders and volunteers have to do it together.
User avatar
ScottRoss
Fledgling
Posts: 281
Joined: Apr 5th, 2008, 7:27 pm

Re: Affordable Housing

Post by ScottRoss »

Changing how our city charges developments for infrastructure from "per unit" to "per square foot" will lead to cheaper, more affordable units. A 2003 paper (http://wcel.org/sites/default/files/publications/Do%20development%20cost%20charges%20encourage%20smart%20growth%20and%20high%20performance%20building%20design%20-%20An%20evaluation%20of%20development%20cost%20charge%20practices%20in%20British%20Columbia.pdf) suggested that as part of a smart growth plan, it could reduce units by $5,000, which is currently the size of our largest affordable housing grant.

Changing our Development Cost Charges from "per unit" to "per square foot" is something I believe strongly in and is a market approach to increase affordable housing in Kelowna without the cost of housing grants. It is just one part of a comprehensive housing strategy that this city needs to adopt like others have.

Return to “C.E. Kelowna”