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Insight: REIBC blog > Are There Drawbacks to Creating Social Housing Through Partnerships?

Are There Drawbacks to Creating Social Housing Through Partnerships?

posted on 10:25 AM, November 22, 2019
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Union Gospel Mission is one of many partners in Vancouver’s community housing sector. Credit: flickrCC/Province of BC

To meet its need for 12,000 units of social, supportive, and non-profit or cooperative housing over 10 years, the City of Vancouver will seek partnerships to deliver such housing. A collaborative approach appears necessary, as without partnerships it is unlikely that housing targets will be met.

Though the benefits of partnership may well outweigh the drawbacks, identifying the potential issues and challenges of housing partnerships offers useful fodder for consideration. “Ask a Lawyer” column’s John McLachlan and guest contributor Nicole Wong provide insight into partnerships at the federal and provincial level:

“As the National Housing Strategy demonstrates, it is clear that the bulk of funding for social housing projects is still derived from the federal and provincial governments. However, complications can arise from this top-down approach in which the vast majority of decisions and resources for affordable housing stems from senior levels of government. A heavy reliance on government as the single source of funding can result in strict operating agreements and a lack of flexibility. This in turn makes it difficult for managers of social housing developments to adopt housing strategies that address the most current social issues and allow for the most efficient use of resources to aid those who rely upon social housing. Sole reliance on government funding also leaves social housing projects vulnerable to government cutbacks and the imposition of agreements that restrict building use and offer little to no further support once these agreements expire.”

The community housing sector offers a local level of partnership with opportunities and constraints that largely differ from those experienced at the level of senior governments. This sector includes “local partners with a stake in building or maintaining the supply of affordable housing. These organizations can be non-profit and cooperative organizations, municipalities, charities and faith-based groups, private sector organizations, and financial institutions,” write McLachlan and Wong.

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Download Summer 2019

To find out more about the potential benefits and drawbacks of housing partnership at all levels, read McLachlan and Wong’s “Ask a Lawyer” column in the Summer 2019 edition of Input. Download Summer 2019

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