PRESS: How a Seattle Plan to End Single-Family Zoning Could Change Affordable Housing

Kriston Capps from The Atlantic gives a quick summary Seattle’s recently released Housing Affordability and Living report:

“Seattle may very well be destined to fall into the Pacific Ocean. Until that dark day when the big one hits, the city has to grow and live. And for a place on the brink, Seattle sure seems to want to set itself up as a model for everyone else.

Back in the fall, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council called on various community leaders to develop a Housing Affordability and Living Agenda for the city. Last week, The Seattle Times got its hands on the draft report of the group’s recommendations. One of the suggestions registers big on the Richter scale: Get rid of single-family housing.”

Read more here.



PRESS: Vancouver millennials need to give up the dream of owning a single family home

piece by Jillian Glover stating her view that the dream of owning a single family home in the city is dead and that compact housing options are the way of the future:

While we read every day about the lack of affordable housing and rise of foreign ownership in Vancouver, family-friendly housing is what the city desperately needs to combat these problems. Property speculators may snap up single family homes and waterfront condos to park their money. But I doubt that they will find a rowhome or a three bedroom apartment off Commercial Drive as appealing.

These are types of homes that people live and raise their families in, because single family homes have become completely unaffordable to those of us who are not developers or offshore investors.

Local developer Bob Rennie is right. The dream of owning a single family home in Vancouver is dead. I urge millennials to get over it. If you want a big home, move to the suburbs.

You can read more here.


PRESS: Millennial Families Priced Out of Cities

Yet another piece on the ongoing affordability issues in Vancouver, this time from The Tyee. Some quotes:

A lifelong Winnipegger, 33-year old Oanh Pham feels she’s always walking a “tight line” when it comes to housing, even in a city renowned for its relatively affordable market compared to the rest of the country.

Yet despite her University of Manitoba degree in psychology and business — and years of experience managing volunteers for non-profits overseas and locally — in some months the mother of one earns just $10 too much to qualify for income assistance, but still too little to pay all her bills.

“I’m just not really sure what the barriers even are sometimes,” she said. “I’m in a tight spot because I’m over-qualified for many jobs but I’m under-qualified for others.” For Pham, it’s meant a years-long struggle to find housing that is at once affordable, appropriate and feels safe enough to raise her 16-month old daughter Hannah…..

…..At the most unaffordable end of the spectrum: Vancouver. A report release recently by Vancity Credit Union warned that young families could soon be priced out of the Metro Vancouver housing market altogether. By 2025, only senior business, construction and engineering managers will be able to maintain affordable housing in the region, the credit union predicted.

You can read more here.


PRESS: Chelsea Novak’s thesis on Living Small

Chelsea Novak at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism – recent released her thesis titled Living small: The prospects for tiny houses as a solution for affordable housing in Vancouver. It is worth the read for people interested in small housing issues. Here is a quote:

On a clear January morning in Abbotsford, Kayla Feenstra nails shingles to her house. Thirty years old and self-employed, she has what so many living in Metro Vancouver at her age only dream of: her very own, mortgage-free home. It may only be 130 square feet and on wheels, but it’s hers. And while there’s still some work to be done on the house, so far it’s only cost her $15,000.

Feenstra is part of the emerging tiny house movement in North America: a group of individuals who embrace the idea of small living, and who typically live, or hope to live, in houses between 80 and 180 square feet built on trailers. Like Feenstra, they’re willing to give up square footage for things they consider more important. Feenstra first made the decision to go tiny back when she was renting a basement suite. “I walked into my living room one day … and realized that I hadn’t been in there in three months.” She already knew she wanted to own her own home some day—in fact she had an offer on a house, but it fell through because of her self-employment. “After that, I started really questioning myself on what I need,” she says. “How much space I need, what my priorities are. Like, I want to travel and I want to go do stuff, and I don’t want to be a slave to a quarter-million dollar mortgage or half-million dollar mortgage.”

You can read it online here.