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Vancouver’s Making HOME Policy Can Address Multiple City Priorities

Conceptual design for the Making Home policy: a six-unit residential home in Vancouver, BC. (MA+HG Architects)

While the Making HOME policy is not a silver bullet, it has the potential to generate a lot of silver buckshot to hit multiple city priorities: climate action, affordability, congestion management, neighbourhood revitalization and resilience.

At the same time, there are some risks that could undermine these priorities unless appropriately addressed. Renewable Cities supports the Making HOME resolution to develop appropriate policies to advance the opportunity for up to six units per single family parcel. Yet to realize its potential, further study and risk management strategies must be put in place. Ideally, Making HOME is supported with complementary programming to deepen benefits.

Benefit Potential

Making HOME has the potential to address multiple City of Vancouver priorities:

  • Affordability: generate new housing units that are more affordable than today’s market rental or ownership options.
  • Carbon & Congestion Management: generate low-to no carbon new housing units in Vancouver, which also has the region’s lowest household transport-related carbon emissions and congestion, reducing demand elsewhere.
  • Neighbourhood Character & Vitality: generate new homes at an attractive, liveable scale, sustaining or replacing the neighbourhood population lost to plummeting household occupancy.
  • Liveability, Accessibility & Resilience: create new housing units that are entered at or near grade, increasing accessibility and natural light, and foster resident connection with one another.

Risk Management

There is a real risk, nevertheless, that each of these potential benefits can be undermined without strategic and careful policy design.  As well as developing appropriate policies and/or guidelines for up to six units per single family parcel, a study should be carried out refining strategic objectives and demonstrating proposed policies can meet these objectives. 

Key risk management priorities:

  • Advance affordability-driven incentives, such as density bonuses
  • Incentivize renovation over demolition and rebuild
  • Reduce proponent costs by establishing streamlined permitting processes
  • Support basic accessibility and liveability, enabling ground floor units to enter near grade and have natural light
  • Facilitate building adaptability, allowing units to be connected or independent
  • Focus intensification in the most conducive single family neighbourhood areas

Complementary Programming

Making HOME has potential to be further enriched with programming support, deepening its benefits, specifically:

  • Secure senior government housing and carbon conservation support
  • Facilitate secondary suite management for solo senior households to reduce social isolation, build community and strengthen resilience

We recommended that Vancouver City Council support the Making HOME resolution and direct staff to study and manage risks that could undermine this important policy initiative and begin to explore program support to maximize outcomes.

Read Renewable Cities’ Full Submission: RC _CoV Making HOME Benefits and Risks