Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that affordable housing is key to Canada’s recovery, as communities across the country are dealing with the devastating impacts of rising levels of homelessness and housing need.
Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced that the $1 billion Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), launched in October 2020, is investing over $205.6 million to support the construction of 700 permanent affordable housing units for individuals and families in British Columbia, with nearly 55% of the units committed to Indigenous peoples and 17% to women and children.
This funding is providing 419 safe and affordable new homes for vulnerable populations across the province under the Projects Stream, and 281 units across Vancouver, Surrey and the CRD which will address severe housing needs and high rates of homelessness under the Major Cities Stream.
Minister Hussen also provided details of approximately $53.1 million in federal funding under the Projects Stream for the creation of up to 188 units/beds of supportive housing through three separate projects in Vancouver, in partnership with BC Housing. The projects will be located at 435 W Pender St, 1025 Granville St, and 103 E Hastings St.
Delivered by CMHC, under the National Housing Strategy (NHS), RHI provides capital contributions to develop new, permanent affordable housing by covering costs associated with modular multi-unit rental construction; conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential homes; and, rehabilitation of buildings in disrepair and/or abandoned to affordable multi-residential homes. Investments made under the RHI are expected to support thousands of construction-related jobs for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
“Our Government wants to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home. The Rapid Housing Initiative will go a long way to supporting those who need it most by quickly providing 700 new affordable housing units to vulnerable individuals and families in British Columbia to keep them safe. This is one of the ways our Government’s National Housing Strategy continues to provide housing for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.” – The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
“Vancouver’s critical shortage of safe, secure and affordable housing is all too well known. The Rapid Housing Initiative delivers the kind of bold innovative action the challenge demands. It not only finds permanent shelter for people in urgent need – it is a crucial public health measure to keep people and communities safe during the pandemic and beyond. There is more to do, and there is more to come. This is the National Housing Strategy at work.” – The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- Nationally, at 4,700 units, the RHI has exceeded its initial target of 3,000 permanent affordable housing units.
- The RHI has received significant interest from Indigenous groups, which resulted in nearly 40% of all units being created under the program to be targeted to Indigenous peoples.
- The RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and others who are among the most vulnerable, including: women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2+, racialized groups, Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.
- As a part of the Rapid Housing Initiative’s Projects Stream, three projects in Vancouver will receive funding. The three projects total $53.1M in federal funding. The first project located at 435 W Pender Street will receive $28.7 million in funding for 80 beds. The second project at 1025 Granville Street will received $19.3 million in funding for 75 beds. The last project located at 103 E Hastings Street received $5.1 million for 33 beds.
- Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $70+ billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home—this includes more than $13 billion committed through the 2020 Fall Economic Statement.
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
- Rapid Housing Initiative
- National Housing Strategy
As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. CMHC’s aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford, and that meets their needs. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.