Mayor calls for City to explore modular housing to meet affordable housing needs

A motion coming to city council next week calls for the City to begin exploring the creation of modular housing in Vancouver, something Mayor Robertson says can potentially provide a solution to part of the affordable housing crisis in the city.

Modular housing can be built much more quickly and for a lower cost than permanent housing, which makes it a good tool for easing the affordable housing crisis in Vancouver,” said Mayor Robertson. “We have over 1,500 new social housing units being built in partnership with the Province, but it will take years until they are all completed. We have a shortage of affordable market rentals, there is a lack of family and workforce housing, and seniors and students are being priced out of Vancouver.

“Given these conditions, it makes sense for the City to explore what options are available with modular housing, and to test its feasibility. We need to be looking at every creative housing option that’s viable.”

Modular housing is becoming more common for addressing affordable housing needs in BC, with the Province recently announcing in June 358 units for seniors in rural municipalities. Modular units are cheaper to build because the construction of identical units reduces costs and time.

The motion, introduced by Councillor Kerry Jang, directs the City Manager to undertake an Expression of Interest to evaluate the range of possibilities and partnerships available involving modular housing in Vancouver. Possibilities could include interim social housing, live/work studios for artists, workforce housing, and affordable rental units.

The motion can be viewed at
“We’ve made a lot of progress on housing in the last year and a half,” said the Mayor. “Our shelters have decreased street homelessness by 50%, and we’re finally getting social housing and rental units built - now we need to find a way to fill the gap as we wait for new housing to be completed. Whether it is for low-income housing, seniors, or affordable rental, modular housing has worked in other cities.

“With the lack of affordability in Vancouver, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be exploring modular housing in our city.”

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