COQUITLAM, B.C., March 1, 2022 – Hundreds of new rental homes became available in Coquitlam last year and thousands more are on the way through the City’s Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS).
Since its adoption in 2015, the innovative strategy to broaden the variety of housing types, sizes, prices and tenures available in the City has made Coquitlam a regional leader in purpose-built rental housing starts. According to a recent HAS progress report, more than 300 new rental units were completed in 2021 and more than 12,200 units were in the development approval process by the end of 2021, thanks to the program’s development incentives.
With continuing HAS enhancements planned for 2022, those numbers will continue to rise.
Leveraging City Tools to Encourage Housing
Through the HAS, the City leverages its role and available tools as a municipality to take a proactive approach to encouraging housing options in the community. The made-in-Coquitlam approach includes providing developers with density incentives (more units) to create rental units, and securing partnerships with the development sector, senior levels of government and housing providers.
The City also supports promising new affordable housing projects with its Affordable Housing Reserve Fund (AHRF), funded with a portion of density bonus contributions from development. Central to the HAS’ success is its adaptability, which ensures the City can respond quickly to changes and new opportunities.
2021 Program Successes
HAS activities and successes in 2021 included:
- More than 10,200 market rental units and 2,050 below- or non-market rental units in the development approval process by the end of the year;
- More than 300 market rental units and six below- or non-market units completed;
- Granting of $4.2 million from the AHRF to support 212 new units in non-profit projects by the Affordable Housing Society and Vancouver Resources Society;
- Updating the Tenant Relocation Policy to ensure more support for tenants in rental buildings that are being redeveloped;
- Developing a Housing Needs Report to identify current and future housing needs;
- Supporting organizations working with the local homeless population with staff resources and $270,000 directed from a UBCM Strengthening Community Partnerships Grant; and
- Streamlining business processes to reduce red tape for affordable housing projects.
Plans for 2022
Related work in 2022 will include:
- Completion of an expected 75 new below- or non-market units, with more anticipated as dozens of projects advance through approvals and construction;
- Community training and education with the remaining $36,000 from the UBCM grant;
- Seeking options for creating rental incentives in medium-density six-storey buildings;
- Developing City-owned sites in Maillardville and on Sydney Avenue for non-market housing;
- Identifying possible locations and models for supportive housing;
- Analyzing the results of the Housing Needs Report; and
- Leveraging partnerships and senior government funding to support the redevelopment of aging affordable housing.
To learn more about the Housing Affordability Strategy and implementation, visit www.coquitlam.ca/housing.
About Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy
Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS) was adopted by City Council in December 2015 to broaden the variety of housing types, sizes, prices and ownership in the city. A cornerstone of the Strategy is the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund (AHRF), which acts as the key funding mechanism for affordable housing projects by leveraging a portion of density bonus contributions from development towards potential affordable housing options. Information about the strategy, including AHRF qualification criteria, is available at www.coquitlam.ca/housing.
Director, Community Planning