This project seeks to determine suitable locations for large-scale development of affordable rental housing oriented for low-income families who are struggling to pay rent in the city of Vancouver. Our analysis includes a series of multiple ring buffer and point density maps which were computed using a multi-criteria evaluation (weighted overlay). Variables considered include various social infrastructures: schools, libraries, community centers, bus stops, social services, health services and parks. Findings were carefully examined to give a final discussion on a three locations deemed most suitable for the development of new rental housing units now in pressing need.
The issue of homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver is of hot debate, especially in recent years. According to Metro Vancouver, the total number of homeless people in Vancouver increased more than 32% within the last three years. Due to gentrification, economic restructuring, provincial welfare system restructuring and numerous other reasons, more low income renters are struggling to pay rent and are lacking essential commodities, with some at risk of losing their homes. In 2006, Census Canada statistics reveal that the mean rent $950. The percentage of Vancouver tenant households paying more than 30% of their income on gross rent is about 21 percent. If that figure alone is not staggering enough, this amounts to about 57000 households.
Some projects Vancouver has launched in recent years to address the affordable housing crisis include those at Woodward and at Little Mountain. These projects however, remain controversial. The project at Little Mountain has been demolished as of December 2009 and will not be redeveloped in a private-public partnership that mixes market and non-market rental units. It is still unknown whether the project will succeed in delivering needed housing, or fall through much like the Olympic Village. In any case, even as the city addresses problems of homelessness, the issue of affordable rents will continue to haunt tens of thousands in the years to come. This project can be used as a guideline when the city of Vancouver decides to implement more subsidized housing projects.