VICTORIA – The Province of British Columbia has introduced a new housing plan to address an ongoing affordability crisis.
The Homes for People plan will deliver more homes people need in a shorter timeframe and build more vibrant communities throughout B.C., a government release stated.
The plan builds on the 2018 Homes for B.C., which invested $7 billion towards housing affordability. The new plan is supported by the 2023 provincial budget, the release stated, and will put $4 billion forward over the next three years and a commitment to invest $12 billion over the next decade.
“If you’ve scrolled through rental listings or seen the prices of homes in your community, you know how tough it is to find an affordable, decent place to live. Even though our province is currently building more housing than ever before, it’s just not enough to meet the need. This plan will take us to the next level with unprecedented actions to tackle the challenges head on, delivering even more homes for people, faster,” B.C. Premier David Eby said.
The plan focuses on four priorities: unlocking more homes faster, delivering more affordable homes, helping those with the greatest housing need and curbing speculation.
Zoning changes are intended to deliver more middle-income, small scale multi-unit housing such as town homes, duplexes and triplexes, and the release stated the plan aims to build “thousands more affordable homes for renters, Indigenous Peoples on and off reserve, women and children leaving violence, and building thousands more on-campus student housing units,” as well as homes near public transit.
The plan will also introduce a new “flipping tax” to discourage short-term speculation, provide an annual income-tested tax credit of up to $400 per year for renters, and the streamlining and modernization of permitting to reduce costs and speed up approvals.
B.C. is “on track to deliver a projected 108,000 homes completed or under active construction by 2027-28 with tens of thousands more homes to come through other avenues,” the release stated. More than 100,000 people moved in B.C. in 2021 and 150,000 people in 2022, the highest amount in 60 years.