We are in a housing crisis

Victoria is becoming increasingly unaffordable for primary homeowners and renters
290%
Increase in the average residential price in the last 20 years
13 years
To save the down payment for the average house
15%
Of renter's moves are forced in BC, highest rate in the country

What's our goal?

We're a community advocacy group pushing to solve the housing crisis through local action. Local councils have the most influence over housing affordability, and are directly accountable to Victoria residents like you.

Why should I care?

  • More housed people will be pushed into homelessness.
  • Your kids may not be able to live near you.
  • Brain drain due to young professionals leaving to more affordable areas.
  • Less development and lower density means higher taxes payable by existing homeowners.
  • Lack of affordability drives people to live further away, worsening climate change.
  • And many more problems...

How do we fix this?

Prioritize homes for living

Why?
Homes, especially ground-oriented homes, are of limited quantity. We must prioritize them for people to live in, not to be kept empty or used as distributed hotel rooms.  

The provincial Speculation and Vacancy Tax has made considerable progress in reducing empty homes, but thousands of active whole-home short term vacation rentals remain in Victoria.

Regulation efforts to date have not worked well, with seemingly no enforcement of short term rental restrictions in the City of Victoria.
How?
Restrict whole-home short term vacation rentals such as Airbnbs. There are currently 2652 whole-home Airbnb listings in Greater Victoria.
Require municipal licenses to be displayed in online listings and aggressively enforce existing short term rental bylaws.

Build abundant family-suitable rentals

Why?
Since 1991, we have added only 2062 purpose-built rental units in Greater Victoria while the population grew by 113,000 people.

The failure to build rentals has forced tenants to depend on private investors for their housing.  However, that housing is insecure as tenants are often evicted when properties sell. BC has the highest rate of forced moves in Canada due to insecure rental housing.  A lack of rental housing also encourages real estate speculators to buy up multiple homes because they know families have no other options for rentals. About 1 in 5 Victoria homes are owned by investors. This drives up house prices.

Current purpose built rental stock is 97% studio, 1, or 2 bed apartments not suitable for families.  We need more rental units of all types, but we desperately need ground-oriented, family-suitable rental housing in all areas of the region to ensure families have a secure place to live. Dedicated affordable rentals are fantastic when subsidies are available, but even market rate rentals help affordability for everyone.
How?
Allow family-suitable rental projects to bypass the rezoning process and go straight to building permit in all areas.
Award bonus density for all rental projects to incentivize construction.

Build abundant family-suitable housing

Why?
Victoria is hemmed in by the ocean, the urban containment boundary, and ALR (farming) land. Only the westshore has greenfield land to build on, but that won't last much longer either. We physically cannot sprawl, so we must densify.

Single family homes used to be affordable to families, but with an average price of $1.2 million, they aren't any longer. Condos are great for many people, but not everyone can live in one. We need abundant family-suitable, ground-oriented housing like duplexes, triplexes, multiplexes, and townhomes everywhere in the city.  

Denser housing close to amenities allows people to live car-light lifestyles and reduces carbon emissions. However, this housing is illegal to build on the vast majority of the land in Victoria.
How?
Upzone all single family areas within the urban containment boundary to allow multiplexes and townhouses by right.
Streamline the development and building permit approval process.  Time is of the essence.
Publish open data on housing approval timelines in order to hold municipalities to account.

Why these policies? Can't more be done?

There are many more policies that can be changed at the federal level. We have a local focus since we believe that it's a different set of problems that deserves its own approach. For federal policies (such as taxing investors, transparent bidding, etc) check out the Canada Housing Subreddit.

What can I do?

Things that can be done right now to help.

Reach out to my rep

Your city council has the power to implement these policies right now. Tell them you want bold & immediate action on housing in Victoria!

Find my representative

Spread the word

Our movement is powered by community volunteers. Help us out by sharing on socials.

Passionate about affordable housing?

Come join the conversation on the Homes for Living Discord. We are a group of community volunteers that are taking action to make Victoria a better place to live for primary homeowners and renters.