Challenging Mayor Sullivan’s Numbers

Mayor Sullivan takes credit on his website and in speeches for the creation of 3000 new homes in Vancouver. CCAP took a closer look at his numbers and presented this at the December 12, 2007 Council meeting. Exaggerating housing gains and minimize housing losses is a typical pattern where Olympics and other hallmark events happen as these events allow governments to quickly consolidate their plans like “DTES revitalization.”

How many new units of housing that people in poverty can afford are really being added to Vancouver’s housing stock?” (Dec 12, 2007)

(An analysis by the Carnegie Community Action Project with help from our friends)

Let’s look at the Mayor’s list:

“Social Housing Projects Completed in 2007 (from the Mayor’s list)”

These include Grace Mansion (85 units), Helping Spirit Lodge (36), Triage on Fraser (30), Jackson Ave (23), and the Vivian (24). The Mayor’s list inaccurately lists Triage on Fraser as converted units. They are really new.

Total converted units completed in 2007: 168

New units include Triage on Fraser (30) and Southview Heights (57). Southview Heights is an assisted living building for seniors which previously came out of the health budget, not housing.

Total new units for low income people completed in 2007: 30

This was not on the Mayor’s list: Low income units lost in 2007 (this is not a complete list—only what CCAP is aware of):
Little Mountain (224 units, to be replaced after 2010)
Pandora (50 units, due to terrible conditions)
Phoenix Apartments (12 units closed)
334 Carrall St (20 units, people evicted for redevelopment)
Dominion Hotel (67 units, evicted for renovations)
Columbia Hotel (73 units, rent increases to $250 per week)
Marie Gomez (76 units to be demolished and replace after 2010)
Picadilly Hotel (39 units evicted due to poor conditions)
Total low income units lost in 2007: 561

Net low income units lost in 2007: 531

“Social Housing Projects Under Construction (from the Mayor’s list):”

226 units are assisted living (Beulah Gardens, 89; St. Vincents, 60; Icelandic Lodge, 77).

The Pennsylvania Hotel (44) is being renovated and is not new housing.

While the Mayor lists 200 units at Woodwards, low income people will only be able to afford 23 of the 75 family units, meaning the total for low income people at Woodwards will be 148 (including 125 units for singles).

Woodwards (148) plus Kindred Place (87) plus Triage on Hastings (92) plus the Passlin (46) equal 373 units for low income people under construction.

Total new units for low income people under construction: 373

“Social Housing Projects Funded and in Development (Mayor’s list)”

Portland on Main (80), Small Suite Demo (120), Lu’ma (30), Trio (30) will provide 260 new units, although the small suite project is only transitional because it does not provide the size of accommodation that would allow people to set down roots in the community.

Three parcels of the Olympic Village will provide 256 units of housing, but the Director of the Housing Centre has told us that there is no commitment that even 25 of these will be for core need (affordable by people on welfare). So we’ll hope that at least 25 of these units will be for people at welfare income and add that to the total of new units.

The Mayor’s list says the Union Gospel Mission project is for 133 beds, rooms and units. But only 36 of these will be for housing and those rooms are tiny transitional units.

The Mayor lists the 10 hotels bought by the province for 596 rooms. These are not new housing, and most are not suitable for permanent housing as they are still single rooms with no bathrooms. The Circle of Eagles project (17) is also a conversion.

Total new units for low income people funded and in development: 321

New social housing announcement

The city and province plan to build 1100-1200 units on 12 city-owned sites. About 600 units are to be ready by mid-2010.

Total new units of housing affordable by low income people by mid 2010 if everything goes well and there are no hold-ups:
30 completed in 2007
373 under construction
321 funded and in development
500-600 by mid 2010

Total: 1224-1324 or about 319 units per year for 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Other relevant statistics:

Annual number of market low income units that could be lost based on the number lost in 2007, and not counting the impact of losing the SRA bylaw: 261
Total number of low income units that could be lost over 4 years: 1044
Number of new units needed to meet Olympic Commitments (excluding Olympic Village and hotel purchase): 3200
Number of new units per year the city’s Homeless Action Plan says we need: 800
Annual number of new units needed to meet city’s own plan in addition to those planned: 481
Amount of 2006/7 provincial budget surplus: $4.1 billion
Amount of 2007 federal budget surplus: $14 billion