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Vancouver could go over $400 million in spending for housing the next four years

March 5th, 2015 · 12 Comments

One of the things I don’t think the public really gets about the Vision Vancouver administration is how much money is going into housing efforts. I won’t get into, the moment, whether they’re effective or whether they’re targeted to the right people, but they are spending a lot.

I asked staff to compile the spending numbers for me last fall, because I was hearing grumbling from various people about the amount of money coming out of the city’s famous property endowment fund for housing.

I got the note that I attach below.

This week, I dedicated a little time to highlighting the amounts likely to go into housing over the next four years. There’s $125 million approved in the capital budget, with $61 million of it allocated for this year. If the PEF withdrawals continue at the same rate, that would be $40 million over this term (since it appears to be $10 million a year in the past). If the amount of housing secured through rezonings remains constant, that should approach $200 million. And then money does get spent from operating, which doesn’t seem to be included here, on various things like improvements to leased buildings that are being used for transitional housing (the Biltmore, the Quality Inn).

My Globe story is here, with some of these numbers, and an explanation from staff and councillors about what the housing plan is for the next four years: 2,550 units, with as-yet unknown rates of subsidization. Public consultations done in the past, plus election results, seem to indicate this is what people want. Or does it? I’m not sure most people even know what is going on.

This data outlines expenditure using different fiscal tools for the delivery of housing including social housing, permanent supportive housing, interim supportive housing and land purchases for the latter. Of note, at year end 2008 and 2009,  the PEF had a substantial negative fund balance which related to the situation in the Olympic Village. Pending resolution of the financial risk of the City related to the Village, spending to enable affordable housing  was therefore decreased significantly from the PEF and other opportunities were pursued through the capital budget, rezonings, capital grants and DCL exemptions. The spend is totaled for each council term.


Council Terms

PEF Capital Fund Secured Hsg thru’ Rezoning Grants DCL Exemptions Total
2003-2005 $27.6 $4.8 Not Available Not available $1.3 $33.7
2006-2008 $31.5 $15.2 $1.0 $4.8 $6.4 $59.0
2009-2011 $4.7 $54.7 $29.0 $2.8 $7.1 $98.3
2012-2014 $31.2 $87.9 $148.0 $3.9 $4.5 $275.5


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