“Recommendations around having more density, less parking, those types of things generally get pushback from community members,” Andy Silver, chief operating officer for the Vancouver Housing Authority, said in an interview Monday. “We’re certainly not the first community to have this conversation.”
Silver said there are trade-offs with increased housing density, which aren’t always explained well to community members or elected officials.
“They’re thinking about, ‘Do I want more parking or less parking?’ If those are the two options, and there are no other things to think about, they say, ‘More parking,’” Silver said. “The sort of tragedy there is the community is also very upset about unsheltered homelessness, about it increasing in the community and about the effects, both for the people experiencing it and the effects it’s having on people who are housed.”
Density and homelessness
Silver said there is a very clear correlation between the issues of housing density and homelessness.
“When we think about homelessness, we often confuse predictive factors and root cause,” he said. “We think of things like mental illness, substance abuse disorders, domestic violence, physical health, etc. We think of those as root causes, but they’re actually predictive factors.”