COPE members adopt a policy for a
Housing Authority with teeth

July 7th, 2014

At yesterday’s COPE Annual General Meeting, the membership approved the party’s 2014 policy platform that highlights the need for a municipal Housing Authority to build real affordable and social housing.

To end homelessness, COPE’s Housing Authority program will build 800 units of city-owned social housing annually. The city’s 2005 Homeless Action Plan called for 800 units of social housing each year for ten years, but Vision and the NPA abandoned this goal.

“Thousands of Vancouver residents are living in deplorable housing conditions, especially poor people in single-room hotels, seniors, single mothers, indigenous people, and many migrants,” said Charlene Sayo, a new voice on COPE’s Executive. “COPE’s Housing Authority will build real social and affordable housing that remains publicly-owned.” COPE’s Housing Authority plan outlines annual income to fund city-owned social housing:

  • Luxury Housing Tax – $35 million
  • Levies and contributions from private developers – $50 million
  • Housing Authority profits – $50 million
  • Property Endowment Fund revenues – $10 million
  • Lobbying / other sources – $25 million

“People who have benefited from Vancouver’s high housing prices can afford to pay a little more to help end homelessness, and build a Vancouver everyone can afford,” said Sayo. COPE’s Luxury Housing Tax will not affect homes valued below $1.5 million. A property valued at $2 million be taxed only an extra 42 dollars per month.

This week, City Council will be voting on Vision’s plan for a Housing Agency that builds no social housing and puts private real estate corporations in charge. Under Vision’s plan, the city will not build housing, but as Councilor Meggs told Metro News it will be a “one-stop shop” for private real estate corporations to get approval for projects to reduce so-called red tape. This sounds like the NPA’s free-market solution of removing red tape for developers to override community processes.

“COPE’s Housing Authority will be democratically governed by residents, not developers. It will be guided by the needs of tenants and elected representatives, and will build relationships with communities and First Nations,” said Sayo. “Vision’s Housing Agency will be run by real estate industry interests, who caused the problem in the first place.”

The Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) is Vancouver’s oldest progressive electoral organization. Founded in 1968, it is a membership based organization that stands for affordability, environmental sustainability, and robust arts and culture. It last held a majority on Vancouver City Council, Parks Board, and School Board 2002-2005. More information is available at http://cope.bc.ca.