BC sets benchmark in community housing with 290 co-op units

Historic acquisition will shield residents from market forces

BC sets benchmark in community housing with 290 co-op units

The Rental Protection Fund has announced its first major move in the battle against the housing crisis—a strategic acquisition of 290 co-operative housing units in collaboration with the British Columbia government. The initiative will transfer these units into the hands of the Community Land Trust of B.C., making a significant step towards securing affordable housing outside the volatility of market forces.

With an equity contribution of up to $224,000 per home from the Fund, coupled with a $22,000 per home renewal grant to aid in building refurbishments, the project not only secures the co-op’s future but also ensures its sustainability without the need for ongoing subsidies. The City of Coquitlam has further bolstered this effort with a contribution of $5.8 million, emphasizing the importance of preserving affordability in housing.

“The impact of the Rental Protection Fund can already be seen and felt—and these are just the first of thousands of homes that will grow our Community Housing sector while freeing up capital that can be redeployed into new supply,” Rental Protection Fund CEO Katie Maslechko said.

Read next: What’s in store for the BC housing market this year?

The Fund’s approach not only reallocates capital within the community housing sector but also amplifies it, enhancing the capabilities of non-profit, co-op, and indigenous-led housing providers. To date, nearly 700 homes across British Columbia are set to be preserved, leveraging over $150 million in private capital. This move is expected to significantly expand the community housing sector by over $1 billion in the next year.

The importance of community housing extends beyond social benefits, now a vital component of economic infrastructure. A report by Deloitte Canada suggests that a mere 1.5% increase in community housing stock could boost Canada’s GDP by up to $136 billion.

Ray Sullivan, from the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, lauded British Columbia’s leadership in stabilizing rents and protecting tenancies through such acquisitions. He called for this model to be adopted nationwide, pointing out the pressing need for such programs across Canada.

“British Columbia is showing leadership that the rest of Canada needs to follow,” Sullivan said.

Make sure to get all the latest news to your inbox, on Canada’s mortgage and housing markets, by signing up for our free daily newsletter here.