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A Catalyst for the Creation of Affordable Housing

About VAHA

VAHA acts as a catalyst for the creation of a diversity of housing options that are more affordable than what the private sector provides.

The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) is a legally independent agent of the City of Vancouver that leverages city and partner owned land to create new housing projects that offer both, a greater diversity of home options and greater affordability than what is currently offered by the private market.

In 2014, Vancouver City Council, acting on recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability, approved the creation of the Housing Agency. The Housing Agency’s mandate is to expedite the delivery of diverse housing options with greater levels of affordability to help achieve the objectives set out in the City of Vancouver’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy.

VAHA is working toward the delivery of 2,500 new homes on City lands by 2021 with 500 homes to be delivered by 2017.

Requests for Proposal

VAHA has a primary mandate to create and expedite the delivery of affordable housing in the City of Vancouver through the development of City-owned land. To accomplish this goal, VAHA enters into partnerships with development partners, housing operators and financing partners and, where possible, facilitates key aspects of project development such as timelines, consultants, financing, and budgets.

Further to its mandate, VAHA is moving forward on seven development projects in these Requests for Proposal (RFPs). Successful proponents will design, build, fund and operate these new developments. Through these RFPs, VAHA expects to create approximately 900 affordable homes throughout Vancouver, approximately 40% targeted to be for families.

Vancouver residents should have access to secure, affordable rental housing and with these latest RFPs, VAHA is moving forward on making this a reality. For further details, please visit http://bids.vancouver.ca/bidopp/openbid.htm.

At City Hall we’ll keep pursuing all options and tools available to build more affordable rental housing"

– Mayor Gregor Robertson

The Model

A traditional “market” development needs to recoup costs that include the purchase of land, development costs and profit. Alternatively, VAHA is working on a development model that utilizes city and partner owned sites to remove land costs and alternative funding methods to reduce overall costs. The result is projects that deliver rents below market value.

What We Are Doing

We are building innovative partnerships and developing new housing projects. All our projects share the common goal of delivering a greater diversity of home options with a greater level of affordability than the private market.

220 Terminal Avenue

220 Terminal Avenue
220 Terminal Avenue

Expected Completion: 02/2017

40 Units

The City of Vancouver donated undeveloped, City-owned land to VAHA for this project. Funding to support VAHA’s temporary modular housing development also comes from the Government of Canada, Vancity, and a private donation. This is Vancouver’s first temporary modular housing development, which helps address the affordable housing problems in Vancouver. This innovative building solution provides interim homes for 40 residents on low and fixed-income.

The 3-storey building contains 40 apartments that use modular construction to provide housing on sites on a temporary basis. Modular housing is a form of construction that consists of multiple sections or modules that are typically manufactured off-site. Completed modules are transported to the building site and assembled by a crane. They can be placed quickly and house residents almost immediately after setup.

This project was developed for people on very low incomes who were facing displacement.

Marine Drive

Marine Drive
55 – 79 SW Marine Dr & 87 – 115 SW Marine Dr

Expected Completion: 06/2019

100 Units

53 Families

Marine Drive is an assembly of 8 lots in total on the north side of SW Marine Dr. between Manitoba and Ontario Street. The development is proposed as two 6-storey residential buildings over underground parking. The project is proposing to create approximately 100 secure market rental homes with over 53% designed to accommodate families.

Partner Team

CPA/VanMar

Development and construction partner

3510 Fraser Street

3510 Fraser Street
3510 Fraser Street

Expected Completion: 07/2019

56 Units

At the southeast corner of Fraser Street and 19th Avenue, 3510 Fraser is a proposed 6-storey mixed-use building of 56 units of seniors social housing and non-profit run seniors centre on the ground floor. The building is targeting Low Emissions Green Building.

Partner Team

dys/Ventana

Development and construction partner

West Pender Street

West Pender Street
177 West Pender

Expected Completion: 06/2019

90 Units

177 West Pender is a mid-block site located in Victory Square, on the north side of Pender Street. It is a vacant site which was previously used as a surface parking lot at the lower grade of the lane. West Pender is proposed as a 10-storey social housing project with approximately 90 micro dwelling and studio units.

Partner Team

dys/Ventana

Development and construction partner

2221 Main Street

2221 Main Street
2221 Main Street

Expected Completion: 01/2020

145 Units

72 Families

Main Street is a full-block, City-owned site on Main between 6th and 7th Avenue in the Mount Pleasant “Lower Main” area. The proposal is to build 8 storeys with ground floor commercial space and dwelling units above as well as a significant public open space at the southern end of the site. Main Street is aiming to bring 145 units of below market rental to the Mount Pleasant area with 50% targeted to families.

Partner Team

Catalyst/Marcon

Development Partner

River District – Parcel 8A

River District – Parcel 8A
3175 Riverwalk Avenue

Expected Completion: 01/2019

106 Units

77 Families

8A is an approved 5-storey affordable housing project in the new community of River District in southeast Vancouver. The building is designed to accommodate 106 new below market rental homes with close to 66% being family sized units.

Partner Team

Wesgroup

Development and construction partner

River District – Parcel 5A

River District – Parcel 5A
3245 Pierview Crescent

Expected Completion: 06/2019

51 Units

31 Families

5A is an approved 5-storey affordable housing project in the River District. The project will deliver 51 affordable rental units with 60% targeted at families.

River District – Parcel 3

River District – Parcel 3
3183 Pierview Crescent

Expected Completion: 06/2019

89 Units

70 Families

Parcel 3 is an approved 6-storey social housing project in River District. The project will deliver 89 affordable rental units with 77% targeted at families.


220 Terminal Avenue

220 Terminal Avenue

Completed: February 2017

40 Units

The City of Vancouver donated undeveloped, City-owned land to VAHA for this project. Funding to support VAHA’s temporary modular housing development also comes from the Government of Canada, Vancity, and a private donation. This is Vancouver’s first temporary modular housing development, which helps address the affordable housing problems in Vancouver. This innovative building solution provides interim homes for 40 residents on low and fixed-income.

The 3-storey building contains 40 apartments that use modular construction to provide housing on sites on a temporary basis. Modular housing is a form of construction that consists of multiple sections or modules that are typically manufactured off-site. Completed modules are transported to the building site and assembled by a crane. They can be placed quickly and house residents almost immediately after setup.

This project was developed for people on very low incomes who were facing displacement.


Marine Drive

55 – 79 SW Marine Dr & 87 – 115 SW Marine Dr

Expected Completion: Summer 2019

100 Units

53 Families

Marine Drive is an assembly of 8 lots in total on the north side of SW Marine Dr. between Manitoba and Ontario Street. The development is proposed as two 6-storey residential buildings over underground parking. The project is proposing to create approximately 100 secure market rental homes with over 53% designed to accommodate families.

Partner Team

CPA/VanMar

Development and construction partner


3510 Fraser Street

3510 Fraser Street

Expected Completion: Summer 2019

56 Units

At the southeast corner of Fraser Street and 19th Avenue, 3510 Fraser is a proposed 6-storey mixed-use building of 56 units of seniors social housing and non-profit run seniors centre on the ground floor. The building is targeting Low Emissions Green Building.

Partner Team

dys/Ventana

Development and construction partner


West Pender Street

177 West Pender

Expected Completion: Summer 2019

90 Units

177 West Pender is a mid-block site located in Victory Square, on the north side of Pender Street. It is a vacant site which was previously used as a surface parking lot at the lower grade of the lane. West Pender is proposed as a 10-storey social housing project with approximately 90 micro dwelling and studio units.

Partner Team

dys/Ventana

Development and construction partner


2221 Main Street

2221 Main Street

Expected Completion: January 2020

145 Units

72 Families

Main Street is a full-block, City-owned site on Main between 6th and 7th Avenue in the Mount Pleasant “Lower Main” area. The proposal is to build 8 storeys with ground floor commercial space and dwelling units above as well as a significant public open space at the southern end of the site. Main Street is aiming to bring 145 units of below market rental to the Mount Pleasant area with 50% targeted to families.

Partner Team

Catalyst/Marcon

Development Partner


River District – Parcel 8A

3175 Riverwalk Avenue

Expected Completion: January 2019

106 Units

77 Families

8A is an approved 5-storey affordable housing project in the new community of River District in southeast Vancouver. The building is designed to accommodate 106 new below market rental homes with close to 66% being family sized units.

Partner Team

Wesgroup

Development and construction partner


River District – Parcel 5A

3245 Pierview Crescent

Expected Completion: Spring 2019

51 Units

31 Families

5A is an approved 5-storey affordable housing project in the River District. The project will deliver 51 affordable rental units with 60% targeted at families.


River District – Parcel 3

3183 Pierview Crescent

Expected Completion: Spring 2019

89 Units

70 Families

Parcel 3 is an approved 6-storey social housing project in River District. The project will deliver 89 affordable rental units with 77% targeted at families.

Partners

VAHA assembles different project partnerships for each of our developments. These are based on the mutual understanding that we are attempting to innovate on an existing system, always looking for ways to improve efficiency, reduce costs and produce a better end product.

Our partners are exploring innovation at all phases of the development process, from financing models, design and architecture, construction techniques, right through to building operations.

We are excited to be partnering with VAHA and Marcon with a new model to deliver greater affordability to more Vancouverites"

– Robert Brown, President of Catalyst Community Developments Society
Investment Partners

Our Investment partners are focused on improving the financial system that our projects are developed under. One of the most important and under-utilized components of delivering greater affordability is in how a project is financed. We are currently seeking partners to consider innovative, low-risk financial models.

Development Partners

Our development partners are involved in a variety of phases of work from design right through to construction. There is room for improved efficiencies and new models throughout this work, including modular construction techniques, design for families, materials and technology, and urban planning.

Community Partners

Our community partners are concerned and focused on the life of our projects once they are complete. Some of these partners are bringing their own land to our partnerships and working with us to find a meaningful place in the finished project. Others are involved in the operations of projects as they have experience and expertise working with an existing community.

Interested in becoming a VAHA investment, development, or community partner?

Contact us
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Roadmap

Discover more about VAHA, from how we began, to how we plan to reach our goal of 2,500 Secure Homes in Vancouver by 2025.

Group

October 2012

Mayors Task Force on Housing Affordability recommends the creation of VAHA

Task Force Recommendation 2: Enhance the City’s and the community’s capacity to deliver affordable rental housing and social housing. Create a new City-owned entity to deliver affordable rental and social housing by using City lands. Mobilize the community to support affordable housing through community land trusts and alternative financing models.

September 2013

City of Vancouver appoints Mukhtar Latif, Chief Housing Officer

As Chief Housing Officer, Mr. Latif will be working to identify, appraise and deliver more affordable housing in Vancouver, and to set up the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA).

July 2014

Vancouver City Council creates VAHA, appoints Mukhtar Latif as CEO  

Mukhtar will work with developers, not for profits, and provincial and federal agencies to meet housing needs and help implement the recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force in providing an array of housing types to Vancouverites.

March 2015

RFQ for shortlist of developers 

VAHA posted a request for qualifications to select partners for a prequalified shortlist to develop affordable housing on City-owned land. 17 partner organizations were selected for future work.

March 2015

Council appoints first 12 sites to VAHA

Vancouver City Council selects a first group of 12 sites for VAHA to utilize within its development process.

April 2015

Appointment of Independent Board of Directors 

The Housing Agency’s board includes senior City staff and four at-large directors with skills and experience in real estate and development, finance, legal, design and planning, rental management, and affordable housing.

November 2015

RFP issued for first 4 development sites

2221 Main, Fraser St, 115 Marine, 177 Pender are the first 4 sites in development process. These new developments will offer a mix of housing to meet the needs of working residents, seniors, and families at low to moderate incomes.

February 2016

RFQ for Modular Housing Builders

We undertook a request for qualification process and shortlisted 12 companies with experience delivering modular homes. We invited the top 5 companies to bid on the first 2 pilot projects.

June 2016

RFP for Temporary Modular Housing at 1500 Main Street  

We issued a request for proposal (RFP) for a pilot site, located at 1500 Main Street, to advance due-diligence studies and site-specific project designs. 1500 Main will accommodate approximately 40 to 80 micro homes (with private bathrooms and kitchens) and amenity space. All of these homes will be available to individuals on income assistance or fixed incomes.

July 2016

DP Applications on first three sites in EFL 

VAHA applied to the City of Vancouver for the permission to construct 3 residential buildings on this site.  The proposal includes developments of 89, 51 and 107 affordable rental units.

August 2016

Announcement of partners to develop four sites

The four sites in development are: 177 Pender, 2221 Main St, Sw Marine, 3510 Fraser st.

September 2016

Horizon North selected to develop first temporary modular housing project

The Horizon North proposal showed a good understanding of the scope for the project and provided a balance between form and function. Through clever use of innovative design ideas and products, the building can be relocated and reconfigured to fit a number of different sites. Even the foundation system is adaptable and reusable.

October 2016

VAHA receives planning permission for 3 sites in the River District

VAHA given the green light to build 250 new affordable rental homes on three City-owned sites, aimed to helping Vancouver families put down roots in Vancouver.

October 2016

Vancouver Chinatown Foundation and VCH partnership announced

Innovative partnership announced with Vancouver Chinatown Foundation and VCH to develop 58 hastings with a 50% of the units targeted to people on fixed incomes.

December 2018

1350 homes under development.

December 2021

2,500 homes complete or under development.

Contact

General inquiries

Board

Cassie Doyle | CEO of the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI)

CIRDI works with developing countries to improve how they develop, manage and benefit from their natural resources. Cassie came to CIRDI after serving as consul general for Northern California where she strengthened Canadian linkages to the Silicon Valley. Cassie started her career with the City of Ottawa working in social housing before progressing into senior leadership roles in the BC and federal public services. She served in a number of deputy minister roles including as BC’s deputy minister of housing.

Ken Clement | CEO of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network

Ken Clement, of Ktunaxa First Nation ancestry, is CEO of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, a recent member of the Vancouver School Board, the first Aboriginal trustee to serve on the board, and a long-time champion for Aboriginal housing and employment. Ken has served as president of the Lu’ma Native Housing Society for more than 20 years, working to provide affordable housing to Aboriginal families and individuals with low to moderate incomes.

Sarah Goodman | CEO of Tree Top Strategy

Sarah Goodman is the founder of Treetop Strategy, an advisory firm working to build a solutions economy – unlocking economic value by creating social good. She previously held executive roles with Tides Canada, Teck Resources, and Weyerhaeuser.

Sarah is the founding chair of New Market Funds, a specialized fund manager that invests to deliver market competitive financial performance with community benefit. She is also a founding board member of Reconciliation Canada. Previous board roles include TransLink, Iisaak Forest Resources, and the Coast Mental Health Foundation.  Sarah helped green the 2010 Winter Olympics as a member of a sustainability advisory committee to the board.

Bruce Tidball | President of Tidball Projects

Bruce Tidball is president of Tidball Projects and for close to 20 years has provided major project management, construction, and owner representation services for developers throughout the Lower Mainland including on some of the city’s most well-known properties: the Shangri-La Hotel, Village on False Creek, and Shaw Tower. Bruce has provided construction and development advisory services in the Vancouver construction market for the design and construction of multiple residential, office, retail, hotel, and mixed-use projects.

Sadhu Aufochs Johnston | City Manager, City of Vancouver

As City Manager, Sadhu is responsible for management of the City of Vancouver supporting City Council in making Vancouver an even more vibrant and sustainable community, including oversight of the over $1B annual budget with over 7,000 employees. In this role, Sadhu has helped to solve a long-standing challenge with the purchase of the Arbutus Greenway, thereby creating an 11 km greenway across the city. He has received support from Council to replace the aged viaducts accessing downtown with a road network and revitalized neighborhood.

Prior to serving in this role, Sadhu served for seven years as the Deputy City Manager, where he helped to oversee the development and implementation of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan, which build’s off of Vancouver’s successes in building a green city.

Bill Aujila | COV Real Estate Facilities Management General Manager

Bill Aujla is the general manager of real estate facilities management for the City of Vancouver, a position he has held for the last two and a half years. Before this, Bill served as the project manager for Southeast False Creek and Olympic Village. Bill has also worked as a solicitor for the City of Vancouver’s law department, an articled student at BLG Law Firm, a financial analyst for the Coast Mountain Bus Company in Surrey, and a civil engineer for the City of Vancouver Engineering Services.

Patrice Impey | COV CFO & General Manager of Financial Services

Patrice Impey is the chief financial officer and general manager of financial services for the City of Vancouver. She oversees all aspects of finance, risk, supply chain, business planning, and information technology for the City. Patrice has over 20 years’ experience in senior financial and operational management positions in the private and public sectors.

Luke Harrison | VAHA CEO