First tenants move into Olympic Village affordable housing

The first tenants of the affordable housing in Vancouver's Olympic Village moved in to their new homes this week, fulfilling the City’s promise to start housing people in need before the end of the year.

“This is great news, to have people moving into their new homes in the Village just in time for Christmas,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Many of these people have been on waiting lists kept by BC Housing and GF Strong for many months, if not years. With the Olympic Village affordable housing now filling up, we’re helping low and moderate income individuals move into homes and the City is receiving a steady rental income from the units. This is good news all around.

“Affordable housing is a major challenge in Vancouver, and we made a promise to our citizens that part of the legacy of hosting the Olympics is that we'd have a diverse, socially-inclusive community in the Olympic Village after the games. We’ve kept our promise and I look forward to seeing all these units fill up in the coming weeks.”

The 252 units of affordable housing in the Olympic Village are being managed by COHO Management Services, an arm of the Co-operative Housing Federation of B.C. One 84-unit building will be the first new housing co-op to open in Vancouver in the past decade. Two other buildings (101 and 67 units) will house tenants of mixed income and household composition. Roughly half of the 252 units will be rented at market rates to essential service workers such as police and fire personnel, and nurses, with the other half dedicated as social housing for lower-income tenants. City council approved the Co-op Federation of B.C. as the operator of the affordable housing buildings in November 2010. Staff in both organizations have moved quickly over the past six weeks to organize waiting lists, select tenants and help people to move in.

There are 14 four-bedroom, 33 three-bedroom, 78 two-bedroom, and 127 one-bedroom units in the 252 units of affordable housing.

“We’re very pleased with the progress we’ve made so far,” said Thom Armstrong, Executive Director of the Co-op Housing Federation. “It’s gratifying to see the first families move into their new homes, and its heart-warming to hear their stories about how much living in the Olympic Village will mean to them."

He added, “Our partnership with the City is going to make a real difference in the supply of affordable homes in Vancouver and in the social sustainability of the Olympic Village.”

Units are already being filled in both the market rental and social housing units, with a variety of families, seniors and people requiring wheelchair-adapted homes.  Tenants will continue to move into the Olympic Village affordable housing over the coming weeks until the buildings are full. There is currently a waiting list of over 300 people from the City’s priority list for Southeast False Creek housing.

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