April 16 is deadline day for those required to pay Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax and the city is asking residents how it should spend the extra income.

Mayor Gregor Robertson has filed a motion directing City staff to find out which affordable housing projects and initiatives residents think should be funded from the net income from the tax.

“Vancouver is the first city in North America to bring in a tax on empty homes, and we should hear directly from Vancouver residents on how they’d like to see the money spent on affordable housing projects,” said Mayor Robertson. “Our main goal is to make sure that people who want to put down roots here in our city have secure and affordable housing options.”

With a 98% compliance rate for declarations and 8,481 homes declared or deemed to be unoccupied, underutilized, or exempt for more than 180 days in 2017; the extra revenue should be significant.

“There are lots of different ways the Empty Homes Tax revenue could be allocated,” said the Mayor. “We could keep our winter shelters open longer. It could increase the funds for the rent bank. It could go towards buying new land for affordable housing. I’m sure people have lots of opinions on how the revenue gets allocated, which is why I want to make sure the public has an opportunity to weigh in before Council makes a decision.”

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