Diego Cardona has an immediate plan for action on affordable housing in Vancouver
June 7th 2018
Vision Vancouver nomination candidate Diego Cardona has a 7-point plan for new affordable rental housing supply in Vancouver, contrasting with unrealistic policy ideas from other political forces that rely on solely on the provincial government instead of taking action right away.
"I am proposing actual solutions that are achievable, and will make a difference right away. Vancouver cannot do it alone, but as city council candidates we must talk about what we can do now, while always emphasizing the reality that municipalities need strong partners in Ottawa and Victoria. We need a big boost in new rental housing units immediately, and as a young person, and renter, I am uniquely positioned to be a champion for renters and aspiring home-owners on city council" says Cardona
If elected Diego will advocate for a fresh new vision on housing centered around these 7 points:
1. A Champion for Co-Op Housing: Diego will continue to support the expansion of Co-Op housing across the City of Vancouver. Vancouver’s new housing strategy sets the ambitious goal of 2,000 new Co-Ops in the next 10 years. If elected, Diego will leverage all the resources available to City Council like the Community Land Trust, the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency, and other non-profit partnerships to ensure that we meet this goal. Diego will also champion the renewal of all existing Co-Op housing leases to make sure that we are protecting the city’s current affordable housing stock.
2. We need a Rental Zoning Revolution: Diego will champion RS zoning reforms that ensure that purpose-built rental options can be developed in all of Vancouver’s residential land. From towers in the West End, to low-rises in Fairview, laneway houses and triplexes in Fraserview, and coach houses in West Point Grey. This rental zoning changes will ensure that we build the right type of mixed rental housing options which Vancouver requires. We need to make sure that we can build public affordable and social housing for the most vulnerable people in our city in all neighbourhoods without restrictions, and institute minimum zoning requierements that benefit low-income renters and prioritize the housing needs of marginalized communities.
3. A Vancouver Special for 2019: If elected Diego will advocate for new types of building codes which could immediately double the number homes in single family neighbourhoods. This could include but is not limited to doubling the number of units allowed on a single family lot from 3 to 6 (mixed of two secondary suites, laneway houses, and coach houses etc..),and giving home-owners the power to develop small-sized lots instead of forcing them to sell their property because of the high-cost of developing their unused space under the current restrictions.
4. Supply On It’s Own Is Not The Answer: mass construction of housing without an explicit affordability lens will not provide young people, newcomer communities, Indigenous people, nor working folks with the affordable homes they desperately need. If elected, Diego will champion affordable guarantees that strengthen the current commitment by the City to offer extra-density on 100% rental projects that commit 20% of homes at rents affordable to people on low and modest incomes. Furthermore, Diego will advocate for specific community amenity contributions that guarantee affordable homes in re-zoned developments to former youth-in-care, single mothers, and survivors of domestic abuse.
5. A solid vote for cohousing: the city's first cohousing project opened last year on East 33rd near Victoria, providing a community-oriented housing development that blends in with a single-family neighborhood. The project was opposed by the NPA, but Diego will be a strong champion for co-housing projects throughout Vancouver.
6. More resources to speed up permits: Vancouver is approving a record amount of new housing supply, and as a result is facing permit requests far above normal. Our economy and construction sectors are booming, and I'm prepared to support more resources in next year's budget to help speed up permit approvals and deliver better customer service. With Council set to approve the 2019 budget in December, Diego will champion additional funding to hire more staff to address the record volumes of permits.
7. Vancouver cannot do it alone: Most of the powers the City requires to make significant investments in affordable and social housing are in the hands of the Provincial and Federal governments, and that is a reality that we must all acknowledge. If elected, Diego will advocate for the Provincial government to make specific investments and tax code changes which foster affordability in the City of Vancouver and regulate unproductive speculation. As a City Councillor, Diego will use his platform to champion a progressive property taxation model to tax the wealthiest properties in our city, some form of a Land Value Capture Tax to ensure that public money remains in benefit of the public, a flipping levy to regulate speculation, and an area benefiting tax to secure social housing for low-income folks. As the son of a single-mom growing up in poverty in Vancouver, Diego will continue to forcefully advocate for livable Welfare and Disability rates, $10-a-day childcare, free tuition for Former Youth-in-care, and a living wage for all people as this is crucial to ensuring a Vancouver everyone can afford.
Vision Vancouver nomination candidate Diego Cardona releases plan to help renters
June 4th 2018
(Vancouver) Vision Vancouver nomination candidate Diego Cardona today released his four-point plan to help Vancouver renters, putting forward specific ideas that can help the 55% of Vancouverites who rent their homes right away.
If elected to City Council Diego Cardona will champion:
1. Investing $1 million in excess revenue from the Empty Homes Tax towards the Vancouver Rent Bank immediately, which helps renters in crisis and prevents homelessness. This injection of money into the bank will provide the project with long-term stability, and it will provide renters in precarious financial situations with the support they need to avoid evictions, and prevent potential homelessness.
2. Advocating for more ‘pet friendly’ rental housing. Vancouver needs more housing that is accessible for renters with pets, which is an important issue in particular for seniors dealing with social isolation, and people with disabilities. The SPCA estimates that roughly 45% of cases in Vancouver where pets are given up involve rental housing. Diego will champion more pet friendly homes in City-led developments as well as advocating for new private rental buildings to include a percentage of pet friendly units by leveraging density bonuses.
3. Diego will continue to support a moratorium on new rezoning in Chinatown until the Chinatown Rezoning policy is fully updated and approved, and clarifies the amount of density allowed on each site. The latest March 2018 update is promising, and Diego looks forward to reviewing further updates, and encourages community members to provide continued feedback in the process in order to secure a vision that protects low-income residents.
4. Diego supports and celebrates many of the changes to the Residential Tenancy Act that have been enacted by the new provincial government, as they reflect calls to action Vision Vancouver has been advocating for during the past 10 years. If elected Diego will continue to push for much-needed provincial legislative changes that provide for higher fines against abusive landlords, greater enforcement powers for cities to require landlords to make repairs in a much shorter time-frame, make sure rent increases are tied to units and not the person particularly in SRO hotels, and a legislative mandate that allows tenants back into units after renovations at previous rental rates.