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Updated October 27, 2020

In September 2020, the Honourable Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Ahmed Hussen announced a new Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by rapidly creating new permanent affordable housing. The initiative will also help support Canada’s economic recovery by creating employment in the housing and construction sectors.

Delivered by CMHC, this $1 billion initiative will cover the construction of modular housing, as well as the acquisition of land, and the conversion of existing buildings to affordable housing. The RHI is the newest initiative of the National Housing Strategy (NHS). It is expected to enable the rapid creation of up to 3,000 new permanent, affordable housing units across the country and will help stimulate the economy.

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 their 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.

The RHI will provide capital contributions to develop permanent affordable, supportive or transitional housing under three categories of funding: 1) acquisition of land and construction of modular housing, 2) acquisition of land and existing buildings for the purpose of conversion, and 3) acquisition of land and rehabilitation of housing. Construction must be completed within 12 months of funding agreement.

    • Major Cities Stream:
      • The RHI provides immediate support to a list of predetermined Municipalities that have been identified based on highest levels of renters in severe housing need and people experiencing homelessness. Vancouver will receive $51.5 million, Surrey will receive $16.4 million, and the Capital Regional District around Victoria will receive $13.1 million.
    •  Projects Stream:
      • An applications-based process via web portal will be open from October 26 to December 31, 2020 to Provinces, Territories, Municipalities, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, and non-profit organizations.


In addition to this substantial investment in housing, the Government of Canada will provide $236.7 million through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy to help the homelessness-serving sector to extend their emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Homelessness has an impact on every community in Canada. It affects individuals, families, women fleeing violence, youth, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. In 2016, an estimated 129,000 people experienced homelessness at an emergency shelter. This is why we have committed $2.2 billion to tackle homelessness across the country.

Reaching Home supports the goals of the National Housing Strategy, in particular, to support the most vulnerable Canadians in maintaining safe, stable, and affordable housing and to reduce chronic homelessness nationally by 50% by fiscal year 2027 to 2028.

The S1 billion announced is also in addition to the $157.5 million announced in April 2020 to help communities address the immediate impacts of the pandemic.


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