Right now, there is no greater challenge facing Victoria residents and their families than affordability.
I’m disappointed that some Victoria city councillors voted to maintain the status quo of unaffordability by delaying or voting against missing middle housing policies. Delaying decisions in a crisis does not demonstrate leadership. A city in a housing crisis needs courageous leaders who will make tough decisions that balance the needs of current and future Victorians.
Missing middle housing is for nurses, family doctors, teachers, police officers, firefighters, business managers, tradespeople and other workers that used to be called the middle class. Today these mainstays of our community – on whom we rely for essential services that enrich our neighbourhoods – can’t afford to live in our city. Some of the reasons why are the purview of other governments, but city council can make some decisions that have an impact on housing availability and affordability.
Council missed just such an opportunity when it turned down missing middle housing. Intended to make it easier to build houseplexes (duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, etc.), town homes, row houses or small apartment buildings throughout the city, council referred it back to staff, essentially telling current and future Victoria residents that Council doesn’t support increased housing supply for middle class earners.
We have a responsibility to do everything we can to increase supply across all sectors of the housing continuum. The city has made good progress, in partnership with the province, in creating supportive housing, and is making strides in affordable housing. The Rapid Deployment of Affordable Housing initiative was the first part of a three part strategy to create critically needed housing for lower income earners.* Missing middle housing would have done the same for middle income earners.
* The Villages and Corridors plan is the second part, aimed at focusing density along frequent transit and mobility corridors and in village hubs and town centres.