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North Vancouver School District aims to offer subsidized rental housing for its staff

February 07, 2019

​Staff would be able to access rental housing at a 20% discount

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By: Joel Ballard, CBC News, Feb 05, 2019 

As B.C. continues to grapple with its housing affordability crisis, some employers are being forced to offer creative solutions to retain their employees. The North Vancouver School District is currently looking at the possibility of offering apartment units at a discounted rental rate.

"Our focus is always going to be on providing the best education possible for our kids and to do that we want to make sure we have the best staff," said School District 44 superintendent Mark Pearmain.

He says since the Supreme Court decision that restored classroom composition limits it has become more competitive to recruit and retain staff. 

"One of our goals is to nurture an inspiring and healthy work environment for our staff," said Pearmain to On the Coast guest host Margaret Gallagher.

Housing at a discount

Together with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Darwin Construction, the school district intends to secure a block of apartments for its staff. Apartments would range from one- to three-bedroom units and be available to staff for a 20-per-cent-discounted rental rate.

The housing will be built as part of the North Shore Innovation District development in the Maplewood area east of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.

Pearmain said the district is working with Darwin Construction to determine how many units it will be able to access.

If the project goes through, Pearmain expects the housing to open in a couple of years.

You can listen to the full interview HERE


Affordability crisis is 'fairly critical'

City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan is no stranger to the housing crisis her community faces, especially those earning low-to-middle-class incomes like teachers.

In fact, Buchanan's father was a teacher in the North Vancouver School District.

"When he got his first entry-level job teaching in the early '60s, my parents bought their house for $15,000. My mother sold that house about two years ago for $2 million," said Buchanan.

"I'd say [the affordability crisis] is fairly critical."
 
At a council meeting on Feb. 4, she submitted a motion to develop a North Shore housing solutions lab, where she would bring numerous members from the community together to develop innovative options to tackle the lack of affordable housing.

It would include the North Shore's municipal governments, the provincial and federal government, as well as B.C. Housing, the school district and Capilano University, among others.

She said having everyone at the table provides a much clearer image of the issues and challenges at hand.

To fund the solutions lab, the city has applied to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for an innovation grant.

She said all levels of income earners should be able to afford to live in the city where they serve.

"It's really challenging to be a complete community when those people can't live here," said Buchanan.

Listen to the full interview with Mayor Buchanan HERE.

See the original CBC article.