On February 8, 2024, B.C. Premier David Eby announced the acquisition of 2 Coquitlam housing co-operatives by the Community Land Trust. This is the first investment of the Rental Protection Fund (RPF).
During the announcement, Premier Eby discussed the importance of co-operative housing plays in meeting the challenges of the housing crisis.
Co-ops are amazing places to live. If you talk to someone who knows somebody who got into a co-op, it’s like, “How did you get in?”. Because it’s like winning the lottery when it comes to the housing crisis. It’s stable housing, it’s affordable housing, and it’s also built-in community.
It’s not always easy. You might have a big policy discussion with your fellow co-op members. It’s a bit like the legislature. You might have an intense debate over the direction that we should be going, and you’re like, “I hope I don’t run into that person in the hall.” At least in the legislature, we don’t have to share a laundry room!
The importance of co-ops, as one of the ways that we can respond to the housing crisis, is a model of housing that works. Multigenerational, people living together, finding a way forward, and delivering affordable housing is so important. And governments used to recognize that. This co-op, and other co-ops, were built with the support of governments that understood, at the time, the importance of building middle-class housing that the private sector would not deliver. Middle-income housing; the government had to be involved.
Now, the problem was, that at the time, they thought that a lease that lasted 70 years would be sufficient. Obviously, leases expire. That is the unfortunate situation that this particular co-op found itself in. At the end of a lease that was put in place at a time when it was like, “We’ll solve that problem down the road.” Well the problem arrived.
And I want to just say that it is only thanks to a few things coming together that we were able to work together to ensure this housing was protected. Because when you’re in a housing crisis, the first thing you need to do to get out of it is to stop digging. We cannot afford to lose affordable rental housing like this building. So, the government set up a $500 million fund in order to be able to buy buildings like this, to preserve affordable rental housing going forward.