Vancouver B.C. Perfects Affordable Housing Shell Game With A Micro-Pea

one pea between two almond shells that are turned down. A third almond shell, turned up, is below the pea.
A Shell Game 3D photo by TeWeBs is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Leave it to a city which, by some measures, is the world’s least affordable after Hong Kong.

Leave what to them? Why, solving an affordable housing crisis without actually creating affordable housing.

Vancouver, like most North American cities, has signed enthusiastically on to the affordable housing shell game with multiple shells and multiple peas. “Yes! We have the affordable housing you need! Pick a shell, any shell. Congratulations, there’s a pea under it. That’s affordable housing because we’re calling it affordable housing. Pick  another. Congratulations again! That’s affordable housing, too, because we said so.”

Dividing up housing into layers of ‘affordability’ that includes all except the luxury market means that cities can perpetually hug themselves for their affordable housing commitment.

What? You mean truly affordable? Like say, social housing? Hmm.

But ‘hmm’ no longer if you’re in Vancouver. They’ve got a shell game for that, too. Same set of shells with a pea under each. Choose one! Congratulations, you’ve chosen a new social housing development!

No, no, it’s not a semi-fraudulent ‘affordable to somebody’ development. Sure, there are 100 market price homes in the development. But check out the tiny little micro-pea beside the big one! That’s 4 units of social housing. That means the entire development is social housing!

A story too silly to believe? Not in Vancouver. Read more in The Georgia Straight: Councillors Question City Of Vancouver’s Definition Of Social Housing