Thanks to funding and programs created as part of Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy, the Talitha Koum Society will soon be helping more women and their families.
“We are in partnership with them for the purchase of this house,” says Sharon DeLalla, Executive Director of the Talitha Koum Society. “The City of Coquitlam owns 50% of this house with us and we’re partners in the renovation as well.”
Andrew Merrill, Manager of Community Planning for the City of Coquitlam, explains the goal of the strategy.
“The goal of the housing affordability strategy is to try to increase both the type and the tenure of housing in Coquitlam, so that’s looking at the entire spectrum of housing, including rental, below market rental, and affordable home ownership. We’ve developed a series of both policy and zoning tools to try to encourage both more rental and affordable home ownership housing, as well as using our Affordable Housing Reserve Fund to provide grants to cover various fees or to help deepen the affordability level of projects.
Partnerships Creating Housing for Single Moms
Como Lake Mews is a YWCA housing development for single mothers and their children. It was built through a partnership between the city, the YWCA, and property developer The Beedie Group.
“The City was instrumental in brokering that relationship,” says Chantelle Krish, Director of Advocacy and Communications for the Metro Vancouver YWCA being very encouraging of building affordable housing and having a deep understanding of the issues that YWCA clients face, which are single mothers and their children and doing what they could to keep a lot of women in the community and have access to local services.”
Building on Regional Efforts
Coquitlam mayor Richard Stewart says his community’s approach to improving housing affordability builds on work being done at the regional level by Metro Vancouver.
“Coquitlam’s housing affordability strategy is guided partly by Metro Vancouver’s own work on a whole range of the issues associated with affordable housing, and we’ve been proud to be able to fold that work into the work that we have to do in meeting the needs of Coquitlam for housing affordability.”
Strategy Delivering Results
Merrell believes the strategy is having an impact.
“We’ve seen well over a 10-fold increase in both the number of purpose built rental and below market rental applications in the two years since the strategy’s been adopted. We’re now well over 2500 units working their way through the application pipeline. Just seeing that volume speaks to the success of the strategy.”
Krish says municipal efforts to increase housing affordability are vital.
“Municipalities like the City of Coquitlam are really the driving force behind having a vision for the municipality that involves affordable housing because they really recognize what that means for a community.”
For DeLalla, the partnership with the city is helping them offer their residents stability along with shelter.
“For a lot of different reasons, having these partnerships giving us a permanent home is fundamental to our work.
Visit the Metro Vancouver Video Gallery for more videos on regional topics.