VANCOUVER – NPA City Council Candidate Lisa Dominato announced today that if elected she will call for the establishment of a voluntary registry of home owners willing to rent their basement suites, laneways, condos and homes at below market rent in exchange for a modest reduction in property taxes and to encourage a home share model that would benefit students and seniors.
The goal of the registry would be to create a network of rental stock that is offered below market to help university students, young professionals, families saving for a mortgage and seniors on fixed incomes. The approach can be best characterized as property philanthropy and would be completely voluntary on the part of home owners. In exchange, property owners would receive a modest reduction in property tax to acknowledge being part of the community solution.
“Housing affordability is a community issue and it requires pragmatic, grassroots solutions that brings people together. I believe we need to put all options on the table for creating affordable and attainable housing.” said Dominato. “One viable option is to encourage home owners who may be in a secure financial position to help others who are struggling to access affordable, long-term housing.”
Melbourne, Australia has a coordinated network of landlords offering below market rent to help address homelessness. As a result, families on the brink of homelessness have found affordable, secure housing at 20% less than market rate.
Dominato is also proposing that Vancouver enable home sharing between seniors wanting to remain in their homes and cash-strapped university students. The concept involves home owners, usually seniors, renting rooms at reduced rent in exchange for help with chores, errands and general companionship. A number of cities are piloting this model and have developed a matching system to connect seniors and young students or professionals.
The City of Toronto is currently piloting a program to match seniors with students, as are number of other jurisdictions.
“There’s a dual benefit to this approach as it addresses housing affordability and caring for an aging population, two key priorities in the NPA platform.” said Dominato. “It’s also an approach that provides immediate solutions because it taps into existing housing supply instead of waiting for new supply to be built.”
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing is considered affordable when it is less than 30% of a person’s before tax income; however, for lower income earners, many rental properties do not fit within this range. A discount on market rent can make a big difference to a low-income individual or family.
Lisa Dominato is a School Board Trustee and current candidate for Vancouver City Council; the immediate Past Chair of the Vancouver Kettle Society; and Board Director, National Institute for Child and Youth Mental Health (FamilySmart™).
Lisa Dominato: 778-980-4422