For many years, the affordable housing policy area group successfully lobbied to preserve existing affordable rental housing and apartments and to improve access to affordable housing through a registry, legalizing secondary suites and other strategies. This task force became a founding member of the Richmond Homelessness Coalition formed in 2011.
In 2002 the group identified 5 key recommendations (all of which have since been adopted in one form or another):
- Housing Registry to improve access – BC Housing now maintains a registry of available suites.
- Legalize Secondary Suites – encourages the full use of homes and provides protection to tenants (if your suite is illegal and you complain about abuse, the remedy is to remove the illegal tenant – you)
- Standards of Maintenance Guidelines – ensures that landlords are providing minimum standards for items such as water, heat, and air quality. Prior to adoption, landlords were using basic utilities as a weapon to remove unwanted tenants
- Universal Design Guidelines — ensures accessibility and liveability across the spectrum. Often thought of as handicap access issues, the guidelines also cover issues like ensuring homes are suited for sport-minded teenagers (wide halls and proper storage)
- Affordable Housing Strategy — adopted by the city in 2007, builders are now required to include affordable housing in large developments.
In 2010 the affordable housing policy area group along with other community groups concerned about affordable housing co-sponsored “Building Hope” Richmond Affordable Housing Forum. The forum was designed to educate attendees to the strategies that were adopted by the City of Richmond in its Affordable Housing Strategy. See the forum report here.
In support of the forum recommendations, the group has united with other organizations in the formation of the Richmond Homelessness Coalition – Homes for All, working together to address housing issues in Richmond. RHC meets quarterly on the third Wednesday in January, March, June and November, with an additional planning meeting every September. Contact us for details if you would like to join.