1:35:22
Video Summary:

ULI was invited by Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation, the Community Impact Real Estate Society (CIRES), and ULI British Columbia to Vancouver, British Columbia (BC) to convene a Virtual Advisory Services Panel (vASP) to address the intersection of work and housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighborhood. The panel was specifically tasked with making recommendations on safe, sustainable housing solutions for workers who are engaged in full-time employment or training and who are housing insecure.Panelists were specifically asked to provide strategic recommendations on:

  • The ideal structure of the partnership to create housing options for individuals who are employed and experiencing homelessness
  • What tenancy options could look like for worker-focused housing
  • The benefits of mixed-use buildings in the creation of worker-focused housing
  • Creative strategies at the intersection of housing and employment for the Downtown Eastside neighborhood

Background:

Vancouver, BC’s Downtown Eastside has a rich history of culture and community, having been home to indigenous populations and communities of color for decades. The Downtown Eastside neighborhood has also experienced significant removal and displacement driven by economic and policy decision-making. As a result, the neighborhood currently experiences high rates of residents facing precarious employment and housing and heightened illicit activity. Despite these challenges, there remains a strong sense of pride in the Downtown Eastside, championed by longtime residents and local business owners. This is illustrated in the dedicated efforts within the community to address the current challenges, as conveyed to the panel by stakeholders. The panel’s recommendations are anchored in honoring the history and resilience of the Downtown Eastside neighborhood. This includes recognition of indigenous populations, acknowledging historically originated patterns of discrimination and dispossession, and lifting and strengthening human dignity as central tenets. The panel also notes the importance of the city of Vancouver’s presence in addressing the presented challenges, particularly when addressing issues of affordable housing and housing creation.

Panelists acknowledge the importance of expanding their conceptualization of the problem beyond the Downtown Eastside neighborhood to conceive of sustainable solutions while remaining rooted in addressing challenges specific to the area.

Recommendations fall into two broad categories:

  1. Commitment to production and affordability and
  2. Enhancing and strengthening housing and employment-focused supportive services. Actionable items to work towards recommendations are also provided. 

Key Recommendations:

The panelists’ key recommendations include the following: 

  • Explore opportunities and challenges related to limited land availability by creating incentives for affordability and development, re-zoning strategies, Environmental, Social, and Government focused REITS that would buy and manage with long-term affordability in mind, among others.
  • Improve development timelines through stakeholder engagement, regulatory clarity, and innovative community benefits.
  • Produce and preserve affordable and workforce housing utilizing an affordable housing master plan.
  • Expand and deepen community partnerships to move toward a coordinated system of service delivery. 
  • Establish a robust system of housing navigation and tools to support housing accessibility.
  • Establish housing and worker-focused peer-to-peer networks, utilizing the success of similar recovery-focused models in the area.
  • Establish a new housing authority with intentional Tri-Governmental cooperation, with affordable housing creation as a central goal.

Video Summary: ULI was invited by Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation, the Community Impact Real Estate Society (CIRES), and ULI British Columbia to Vancouver, British Columbia (BC) to convene a Virtual Advisory Services Panel (vASP) to address the intersection of work and housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighborhood. The panel was specifically tasked with making recommendations on safe, sustainable housing solutions for workers who are engaged in full-time employment or training and who are housing insecure.Panelists were specifically asked to provide strategic recommendations on:

  • The ideal structure of the partnership to create housing options for individuals who are employed and experiencing homelessness
  • What tenancy options could look like for worker-focused housing
  • The benefits of mixed-use buildings in the creation of worker-focused housing
  • Creative strategies at the intersection of housing and employment for the Downtown Eastside neighborhood

Background:

Vancouver, BC’s Downtown Eastside has a rich history of culture and community, having been home to indigenous populations and communities of color for decades. The Downtown Eastside neighborhood has also experienced significant removal and displacement driven by economic and policy decision-making. As a result, the neighborhood currently experiences high rates of residents facing precarious employment and housing and heightened illicit activity. Despite these challenges, there remains a strong sense of pride in the Downtown Eastside, championed by longtime residents and local business owners. This is illustrated in the dedicated efforts within the community to address the current challenges, as conveyed to the panel by stakeholders. The panel’s recommendations are anchored in honoring the history and resilience of the Downtown Eastside neighborhood. This includes recognition of indigenous populations, acknowledging historically originated patterns of discrimination and dispossession, and lifting and strengthening human dignity as central tenets. The panel also notes the importance of the city of Vancouver’s presence in addressing the presented challenges, particularly when addressing issues of affordable housing and housing creation.

Panelists acknowledge the importance of expanding their conceptualization of the problem beyond the Downtown Eastside neighborhood to conceive of sustainable solutions while remaining rooted in addressing challenges specific to the area.

Recommendations fall into two broad categories:

  1. Commitment to production and affordability and
  2. Enhancing and strengthening housing and employment-focused supportive services. Actionable items to work towards recommendations are also provided. 

Key Recommendations:

The panelists’ key recommendations include the following: 

  • Explore opportunities and challenges related to limited land availability by creating incentives for affordability and development, re-zoning strategies, Environmental, Social, and Government focused REITS that would buy and manage with long-term affordability in mind, among others.
  • Improve development timelines through stakeholder engagement, regulatory clarity, and innovative community benefits.
  • Produce and preserve affordable and workforce housing utilizing an affordable housing master plan.
  • Expand and deepen community partnerships to move toward a coordinated system of service delivery. 
  • Establish a robust system of housing navigation and tools to support housing accessibility.
  • Establish housing and worker-focused peer-to-peer networks, utilizing the success of similar recovery-focused models in the area.
  • Establish a new housing authority with intentional Tri-Governmental cooperation, with affordable housing creation as a central goal.
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