This Budget General Meeting is an important one, as the Co-op has entered a period of financial rebuilding after the completion of the 1750 project and a series of moves involving ten units, eight member households and three new member households.
In the last stages of the project, it was necessary for the Board to transfer the futures fund and $57,733.47 of the subsidy fund into the replacement reserve. One of the membership’s tasks at this year’s meeting will be to consider how quickly we replenish the subsidy fund. You will see that the Board proposes to repay the fund over three years and that we have asked for budget projections at 4% and 6% for the membership’s consideration, in order to begin this repayment, cover our yearly expenses and start to rebuild our replacement reserve.
As a consequence, we must consider what kind of housing community we want to be. Vancouver East was started under the Section 95 program, which ran from 1979 – 1985 and created over 160 housing co-operatives in British Columbia alone. Built into this program was subsidy for low-income members and a commitment to creating mixed income communities.
The Board supports ongoing commitment to the basis upon which our housing co-operative was founded. We recommend rebuilding a robust subsidy fund, so that if the government programs we participate in end we can continue to house members in need. We recognize that as costs rise, so too will our housing charges in order to rebuild and fund our reserves and meet our yearly budget requirements. However, we support an approach that does not create undue hardship for low and moderate income members or force them to self-select out of affordable housing into a predatory rental market.
Looking forward, we will be recommending to next year’s Board that they start the process of reviewing and renewing our Capital Reserve Plan, in order to make ourselves ready for future challenges in repairing and renewing our aging infrastructure, while maintaining a thriving community across our six sites.