B.C. moves to increase housing supply, deliver more homes faster

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  • New measures are coming to B.C. that will help create more housing
    as the Province speeds up permitting and helps build more secondary
    suites for rent.

    “People in our province deserve a decent place to live they can
    actually afford to rent or buy, but a chronic housing shortage and long
    permit approval times are frustrating that achievable goal,” said
    Premier David Eby. “Our government is taking action. We’re making it
    easier and faster to get provincial permits to build new homes, and
    offering financial support for people who could build a suite they can
    rent out at more affordable rates. We’ve got lots to do, which is why
    we’re focusing on initiatives like these that make a real and tangible
    difference for thousands of families.”

    The first action focuses on speeding up the permitting process through
    the launch of a one-stop shop that eliminates the need for multiple
    permitting applications across different ministries. The Single Housing
    Application Service (SHAS) will help deliver more homes faster by
    creating a simpler permitting application for homebuilders. The service
    will help clear permitting backlogs, while maintaining environmental
    standards. With the introduction of SHAS, the Province expects permit
    timelines to be reduced by two months.

    “Our government is laser-focused on taking action on housing,” said
    Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship.
    “One way we’re doing this is by eliminating the current permitting
    backlog and speeding up homebuilding project approvals with the
    launch of a user-friendly tool that connects people to project experts.

    These expert ‘navigators’ will guide homebuilders through the provincial
    permitting process and provide a personal, one-stop shop that will
    streamline the process.”

    The SHAS connects homebuilders to “navigators,” dedicated staff in
    the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, who guide
    applicants through all stages of permit applications, act as the single,
    dedicated point of contact for all information related to homebuilding
    permits and co-ordinate permitting decisions across ministries.

    The second initiative centres on secondary suites and comes ahead of
    planned legislation this fall to make secondary suites legal throughout
    the province, and a pilot incentive program to help homeowners build
    secondary suites.

    To help homeowners navigate this process, the Province has launched
    a new comprehensive guide, titled Home Suite Home. The guide
    provides people with the information to prepare to build and manage a
    rental suite in British Columbia. This follows recent steps to make
    improvements at B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch, including more
    timely dispute resolutions.

    The guide can be used as a resource for people preparing to access
    the Secondary Suite Incentive Program (SSIP). The pilot program, set
    to launch in early spring 2024, will provide approximately 3,000
    homeowners with forgivable loans of up to $40,000 to create a new
    secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit on their property. The loans
    will only go to properties that will be rented below market rates.

    Additional eligibility requirements of the program have been made
    available so people interested can prepare ahead of the launch.

    “We’ve heard from a lot of homeowners that they would love to create
    a rental suite on their property, but find the process to build and
    manage one confusing and time-consuming,” said Ravi Kahlon,
    Minister of Housing. “Our new Home Suite Home guide and secondary
    suite pilot program will clearly and concisely provide homeowners with
    the information they need to make an informed choice on whether
    adding a rental unit is right for them.”

    These initiatives are part of the Province’s Homes for People action
    plan. Announced in spring 2023, the plan builds on record investments
    in housing since 2017, and sets out several actions to deliver the
    homes people need in a shorter timeframe, while creating more vibrant
    communities throughout B.C. (news.gov.bc.ca)

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