Mayor Stewart: Keep your 3% empty homes tax promise!

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During his election campaign, Mayor Kennedy Stewart promised to raise the empty homes tax from 1% to 3%. When it started on January 1, 2017, this tax incentivised property owners to rent to tenants, instead of just leaving homes empty. With Vancouver’s vacancy rate at ~1%, affordable rentals are desperately needed, especially by families and people with low incomes. Thousands of empty houses could directly help address our vacancy rate.

If Mayor Stewart keeps his promise to raise the empty homes tax to 3%, we'd see an estimated $80 million that could be earmarked to build truly affordable housing. However, in a recent interview on CBC, Mayor Stewart indicated that he might abandon his promise!

Empty homes hurt Vancouverites; I'm especially thinking of seniors, families, people with disabilities, racialised and Indigenous folks. Empty homes also hurt local businesses which rely on foot traffic; many of these businesses are desperate to retain workers who can no longer afford to live in Vancouver and have been leaving in droves. We just can't afford to wait for help from the province or the feds; such help may take years, or may never materialise. The 3% empty homes tax has the power to create affordable homes from empty homes -- we need to keep up the momentum.

If you think Vancouverites urgently need affordable rental homes, let Mayor Kennedy hear your voice! Sign below to keep him committed to his election promise!