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Jan 16, 2019 Return to Headlines

Partnership To Bring More Affordable Housing to Coquitlam

by Michelle Frilund |

COQUITLAM, BC, Jan. 16, 2019 – The City of Coquitlam and Habitat for Humanity Society of  Greater Vancouver have signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that brings them one step closer to delivering more affordable family housing to Coquitlam.

Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver was selected for this partnership following a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) in 2017. 

The City and Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver recently signed an MOU outlining a framework for the project. This allows the City and Habitat to now move toward a formal binding lease, as well as any other agreements that may be required for the project to proceed.

“Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy brought forward some innovative policy directions, and we are really starting to see the tangible results of this,” said Mayor Richard Stewart. “While there is still a lot of work to do, partnerships such as this one with Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver are integral to our success in bringing more affordable housing to Coquitlam.” 

The development of this designated affordable housing site at 1358 Coast Meridian Road is a key action item in the implementation of the City’s Housing Affordability Strategy. 

The key objectives and desired outcomes for this affordable housing project include: 

  • Providing affordable units for low- to moderate-income level households earning between 50-80% of Coquitlam’s annual median income;
  • Offering options for affordable home ownership;
  • Designing elements that achieve a high level of accessibility for those with varying accessibility challenges; and, if possible,
  • Potentially benefitting the City’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund (AHRF).

Dennis Coutts, CEO of Habitat Greater Vancouver, is overjoyed. “Habitat for Humanity is grateful to the City of Coquitlam for their forward thinking and pro active approach to affordable housing in the city through the Affordable Housing Strategy and Affordable Housing Reserve Fund.  These initiatives have made it possible for Habitat to offer housing solutions to families that will ultimately create a pathway to home ownership.  We look forward to working with the City and the community to make these dreams come true for families that would not otherwise have an opportunity for home ownership.”  

All of the 40-50 units proposed for 1358 Coast Meridian Road will be suitable for families and will meet the City’s affordability target for low- to-moderate household incomes ($35,000-$55,000 a year).

For all participating families, Habitat sets interest-free mortgage payments at  a maximum of 30% of household income, in order to ensure affordability.

As part of their commitment to Habitat for Humanity, participating families are required to volunteer 500 hours of “sweat equity” (e.g. helping at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, assisting in fundraising or working on a Habitat housing project). Families are also required to attend workshops to help them learn about the responsibilities of home ownership. 

About Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy
Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS) was adopted in December 2015 to broaden the variety of housing types, sizes, prices and tenures in the city. 

A cornerstone of the Strategy is the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund (AHRF), which acts as the key funding mechanism for affordable housing projects by leveraging a portion of density bonus contributions from development towards potential affordable housing options. Information about the AHRF including qualification criteria is available at www.coquitlam.ca/housing

Housing Affordability Strategy Success
Since the HAS was adopted, more than 4,000 new purpose-built rental units are being planned or built in Coquitlam with close to 800 of those being designated as non-market or affordable rental. In the decade prior, fewer than 200 market and non-market rental units were developed in Coquitlam.

Additionally, all ten of the top ten high-priority action items identified in the HAS have been completed, as well as 46 of the 54 action items identified in the plan are now complete.

For more information on Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy, visit www.coquitlam.ca/housing.

About Habitat for Humanity of Greater Vancouver
One of 55 Habitat for Humanity affiliates across Canada, Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver provides a Hand Up out of the poverty rental cycle for hard-working local families. Habitat for Humanity builds safe and affordable housing as a first step into the traditional housing market by providing families with an equity build model based on monthly shelter payments capped at 30% of family income.  Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver has built 31 homes in Burnaby and Vancouver, is currently building homes for 12 families in Richmond and is starting 19 homes in Mission in 2019.  The land partnership with the City of Coquitlam will represent what is believed to be the third largest single lot Habitat build in Canada, represents a significant incremental growth for the Vancouver affiliate and will, over the term of the 80 year land lease, help approximately 500 families and over 1,500 children.  

To learn more or to apply for housing, please visit www.habitatgv.ca. 


Media contact:
City of Coquitlam: 
Andrew Merrill
Manager, Community Planning
amerrill@coquitlam.ca

Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver
Stephani Baker
Director of Operations
Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver
sbaker@habitatgv.ca