Vancouver BC - Mayoral Candidate Mark Marissen and Progress Vancouver are committing to take immediate action to support Vancouverites through the affordability crisis.

Progress Vancouver will provide direct financial relief to renters and first-time home buyers with a new Affordability Relief Initiative (ARI) starting January 1st of 2023, which will:

  1. Provide a $1,200.00 per household annual cash payment to all renters in Vancouver; and
  2. Waive one year of property taxes for all first-time home buyers to help young families.

Funding for the ARI will come from Progress Vancouver's reformed Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) program, which will standardize CAC contributions and end the closed-door process of secret meetings between developers and Vancouver's Mayor and City Council.

"The CAC program is broken and open to corruption. It does nothing to help everyday Vancouverites. For the past four years Kennedy Stewart has been taking secret meetings with the billionaire developers who we now know are funding his re-election campaign," says Progress Vancouver Mayoral Candidate Mark Marissen.

"This is like a banana republic."

"We shouldn't be spending millions of dollars on another twenty-foot tall chandelier hanging in Yaletown. I'm going to make developers contribute to a larger community infrastructure central fund instead, and we're going to put extra cash back into the pockets of everyday Vancouverites, so they can afford to live here," Marissen continues.

"The ARI is a temporary measure. It's immediate cash relief meant to keep renters in Vancouver above water and to save young families from being locked out of the Canadian dream of home ownership."

"If Kennedy Stewart had taken the housing affordability problem seriously when he was elected four years ago, we wouldn't have to do this. This is a crisis response to keep everyday people above water," Marissen concludes.

Progress Vancouver Council Candidate Marie-Noelle Rosa says that the $1,200.00 cash payment will especially help those people who really need the help.

"Just a year ago – after a major personal crisis – I found myself homeless, living in a shelter with my three year old daughter," says Rosa. "Getting into supportive housing was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It's so hard to find something affordable, and money is a barrier."

The new ARI seeks to send every renter twelve monthly deposits of $100, for a total benefit of $1,200. Applicants will be asked to upload their lease and banking information; the program will be regularly audited for fraud.

Former NDP Vice-President, Progress Vancouver Council Candidate, Morgane Oger echoes the need for direct assistance for renters. "With new rental control measures being supported by our Provincial NDP government, and by paying directly to the beneficiaries, we can be absolutely sure this money will go towards struggling Vancouverites rather than the pockets of landlords," says Oger.

Progress Vancouver will help restore the dream of home ownership by waiving one year of property taxes for first-time home buyers. "The dream of homeownership is as Canadian as the maple leaf. But that dream has been taken away for far too many," says Progress Vancouver Council candidate Mauro Francis. "This initiative will help to restore the dream of homeownership for young families like mine."

The total cost for the ARI is calculated at $200 million, which will be paid by doubling the current city CAC revenue to $600 million.

"We're going to end the apartment ban and more than double the amount of housing starts throughout the city, mostly with gentle 4 to 6-storey family-oriented apartments. It just makes sense to capture that new value and send it straight to the people most in need," says Mark Marissen."

You're never going to get that sort of growth – a real solution to provide immediate assistance with affordability – from Kennedy Stewart's half-baked plan to cram all new rentals into giant towers in tiny arterial zones."

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