Providing affordable housing at deeply subsidized rates for vulnerable Canadians is increasingly challenging. Rising costs, limited finances and competition from municipalities and other groups place increasing pressure on housing providers. A sustainable and scalable approach to providing deeply affordable housing is needed.
This Solutions Lab will bring together participants from many different sectors, including non-profit organizations, private industry and government. Together, they will share their experiences and co-develop potential innovations for creating sustainable affordable housing. The Lab also will establish the groundwork for future collaboration and create best practices to share within the industry.
Key Findings / Key Goals
Bring stakeholders together to discuss and create ways of promoting economic and social inclusion.
Help lab participants develop strong housing partnerships and identify how they can cooperate in the future.
Integrate project outcomes and share knowledge created with other local housing non-profit and charitable organizations.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Long waitlists, rising operating costs and limited revenue
Affordable housing solutions are crucial to helping vulnerable populations break the cycle of poverty, dependency or instability. However, many social housing providers have long waitlists and face increasing pressures related to rising operating costs and limited revenues. This includes the YWCA Metro Vancouver, which works with vulnerable populations, particularly low-income families led by single mothers. Collective thought and action is needed on how to best access and use capital to address these issues.
Solutions to systemic barriers
This Lab will set out to find solutions to the systemic barriers that hinder the creation of deep affordability housing. Deep affordability housing is housing that is rented at a minimum of 40% below the market average.
The Lab will occur in 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase will involve planning for the first workshop, which includes challenge and actor mapping. The engagement approach and recruitment strategy also will be proposed at the first workshop.
- The Discovery Phase includes building a shared understanding of the issue and creating a clear challenge question. Background research will be conducted, including a literature review and interviews with stakeholders and people with lived experience. Another workshop will be held where participants can share their unique experiences to explore solutions that have been attempted elsewhere.
- The Development Phase includes workshops where lab participants co-develop potential solutions to the challenge question. A shortlist of solutions and criteria for evaluating the different innovations will be created.
- The Prototype and Delivery Phase involves analyzing, testing and refining the shortlisted solutions from the previous phase.
- The Roadmap Phase sees the partners reconvene for an implementation workshop to define the next steps and timelines. They also will outline their respective roles and responsibilities moving forward.
Designed to be shared with a broad audience
The Lab has been designed from start to finish to be shared with a broad audience. This includes promoting the findings with groups such as funders, housing providers, local governments and non-profit organizations. A roadmap and presentation on the lessons learned will be created at the end of the Lab. Other materials, including an article and conference presentation, will be shared through the YWCA website and network.
Project Team: Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)
Location: Vancouver, BC
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Michael Flanigan, BC Housing
- Kira Gerwing, Vancity
- Andy Broderick, New Commons Development
- Robert Brown, Catalyst
- Byron Chard, Chard Development
- Edward Kozak, City of Burnaby
- Dan Garrison, City of Vancouver
- Genevieve Bucher, City of Coquitlam
- Marika Albert, BCNPHA
Get More Information:
Search our Housing Knowledge Centre for important updates on the progress of this lab.