Housing Action Plan Update

Thank you to everyone that provided feedback on the emerging directions for the Township of Langley’s Housing Action Plan. A final draft of the updated Housing Action Plan is being prepared for Council’s consideration, currently anticipated in late 2021. Based on Council’s direction, implementation of the new Housing Action Plan would follow.

Thriving, inclusive communities need a diverse and affordable supply of housing. To address the needs of its growing population and housing affordability challenges, the Township of Langley is updating its 2013 Housing Action Plan. Once finalized, the new Housing Action Plan (HAP) will guide Township housing action over a five year timeframe.

The “emerging directions” of the HAP update encompass the draft goals, priorities, and actions. The emerging directions were informed by the findings of the 2020 Housing Needs Report, including community feedback, along with additional research and analysis. This included input from key stakeholder groups including those with lived experience of homelessness, non-profit and related service providers, and the real estate and development communities. You can find more details in the full Emerging Directions Report received by Council on June 28, 2021, and the Housing Needs Report received by Council on November 9, 2020.

 

Building on the 2013 Action Plan

The 2013 Housing Action Plan has guided a number of Township initiatives that support housing affordability. These initiatives have helped facilitate the construction of 94 subsidized rental units, in addition to the 672 below-market rental, subsidized rental, and supportive housing units under construction or in the development process.

The housing wheelhouse

To meet the needs of diverse residents at every stage of their lives, the local housing stock should include a variety of housing forms and tenures. The housing wheelhouse is one way to think about the various types of housing in communities.

Housing Wheelhouse

 

What is affordable housing?

In Canada, housing is considered affordable if it costs less than 30% of a household’s before-tax income. While any type of housing in the wheelhouse might be affordable for some households, many people associate affordable housing with subsidized housing, given that the current housing market is not delivering affordability for all households. Increasingly, middle-income households are being priced out of the market.

Township role

As a local government, the Township of Langley’s primary role is to plan and regulate land use to ensure an adequate supply of residential land to meet housing demand. Housing is a shared responsibility among all levels of government and requires involvement from the for-profit and non-profit sectors.

At the same time, local governments in BC are increasingly broadening their role in housing through policy and regulatory measures such as requiring new strata apartment developments to set aside a proportion of units as rental units. However, most local governments in BC do not directly build or operate housing.

Challenges and Opportunities

  1.  Township of Langley has a growing and increasingly urban population.

Units Created


Population Growth

 

Cost impacts are especially felt by:
  • Single-person households
  • Single-parent households
  • Renters
  • Indigenous
  • Seniors
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Immigrants

Affordability Gap - Owners

*Standard mortgage plus estimates for property taxes, utilities, insurance, municipal service charges, and strata fees. Please see the 2020 Housing Needs Report for more detail.

 

Affordability Gap - Renters

*Includes estimates for utilities and tenant insurance. Please see the 2020 Housing Needs Report for more detail.

  • Provincial regulations now allow rental only zoning and secondary suites in some multi-family units.
  • $40 billion National Housing Strategy and $1.6 billion provincial affordable housing funding.
  • Due to the cost and accessibility barriers of getting around by automobile, affordable and accessible housing should be near public transit and within walking and cycling distance to services and amenities.

Draft Goals

1. Increase access to affordable, appropriate housing.
2. Reduce homelessness.

Condo ConstructionDraft Priorities and Actions

1. Diversify Housing Types.

A: Require 10% of units in new apartment developments be 3+ bedrooms.

B: Update Official Community Plan policies to encourage a broader range of unit, dwelling, and development types.

C: Identify areas with potential for infill development.1

D: Review and enhance the adaptable housing policy.2

E: Explore allowing duplexes on single-detached lots in urban areas.

 

Backyard House2. Catalyze Rental Housing.

A: Require new strata developments to include a proportion of units as market rental and/or affordable rental units.

B: Update incentives for market rental and affordable rental developments.

C: Prepare a policy on use of the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund.3

D: Permit backyard secondary suites in some areas.

E: Communicate affordable housing policies, incentives, and actions.

F: Consider community-specific requirements for market rental and/or affordable rental units as part of the planning for Willowbrook.4

G: Identify and collaborate with local organizations that may be interested in developing affordable and supportive housing.

H: Explore secondary suites in new duplexes and row houses and lock-off suites in new apartment dwellings.5

 

3. Support Vulnerable Residents.

A: Collaborate with BC Housing and other organizations to address the urgent need for housing for women and children fleeing violence.

B: Promote awareness of the Langley rent bank.6

C: Support the establishment and coordination of a Langley Housing and Homelessness Table.

D: Support initiatives that address misinformation about homelessness and communicate the benefits of affordable housing.

E: Collaborate with Fraser Health Authority to plan for seniors and other special needs housing.

 

4. Monitor Trends and Emerging Priorities.

A: Monitor trends related to secondary suite size.

B: Monitor rental development trends to consider additional requirements for rental protection.

C: Update the Housing Needs Report every 5 years.

[1] Infill development refers to the introduction of new housing types within an existing neighbourhood, often without significantly altering its character or appearance.
[2] Adaptable homes have design features that facilitate easy retrofits to enable individuals with limited mobility, due to age or disability, to live in their homes with relative independence.
[3] The Affordable Housing Reserve Fund is funded by Community Amenity Contributions.
[4] Planned rapid transit for the Willowbrook area provides an opportunity to locate affordable housing near affordable transportation.
[5] Lock-off suites are small units within a larger principal apartment unit, with a separate external access and shared internal access.
[6] A rent bank was established in Langley in April 2020. Rent banks issue low income individuals and families a one-time crisis loan with the aim of preventing homelessness due to an unexpected circumstance.

Feedback

Thank you for providing your comments on the emerging directions for the Township of Langley’s Housing Action Plan. Our feedback survey is now closed.

Next Steps

A final draft of the updated Housing Action Plan is being prepared for Council’s consideration, currently anticipated in late 2021. Based on Council’s direction, implementation of the new HAP would follow.

 

More Information
Community Development Division 
socialplanning@tol.ca
604-533-6034