Canada's Condominium Magazine
The federal government outlined an ambitious new plan to help build 100,000 new affordable housing units and repair 300,000 existing units. The goals are lofty: a cut to chronic homelessness by 50 percent, and to directly provide assistance to 300,000 households through the $4 billion “Canada Housing Benefit.”
In his announcement, Prime Minister Trudeau pointed out:
“Housing rights are human rights, everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home.”
This also represents the re-establishment of affordable housing as a federal government initiative. In the past, previous governments have pushed affordable housing mostly to provinces and cities.
Ambitious goals; big price tag
The goals are ambitious, and by necessity, the price tag is high: $40 billion spent on a 10-year strategy, introduced as “Canada Housing Benefit.” The strategic goals are:
- Cut chronic homelessness by 50 percent
- Build 100,000 new affordable housing units
- Repair 300,000 affordable housing units
- Provide 300,000 households with financial assistance through the Canada Housing Benefit.
- Protect 385,000 households from losing their affordable home
Prime Minister Trudeau said, “The national housing strategy represents a once-in-a-generation forty billion dollar of how we can protect the affordability of the current affordability housing stock in Canada, build four times as many units as the past decade, repair three times as many units as the past decade, and reduce chronic homelessness by fifty percent!”
The press announcement:
Average rent subsidy of $2,500
Although some of the initiatives had been previously announced, the $4 billion Canada Housing Benefit, which will provide rent subsidies, is new. According to the announcement, the government will provide an “average” rent subsidy of $2,500 per family needing help, starting in April of 2020 and running until 2028.
This is a fifty-fifty proposition, with half of the money to come from the Federal government and the other fifty percent from the provinces. The goal is to subsidize 300,000 households before the term ends in 2028.
Co-investment fund partnering with developers
The government also plans to partner with developers, providing low-interest loans based on qualifying conditions:
- 30 percent of the units in a given project must rent for lower than 80 percent of median market rents for a minimum period of 20 years
- 20 percent of units have to adhere to accessibility standards
- developers must prove a 25 percent reduction (over current national building codes and energy guidelines) in greenhouse gas emissions and subsequent reduction in energy consumption.
The government will also transfer up to $200 million in federal lands to developers under strict conditions: affordability standards and environmental standards.
Special focus on domestic abuse
There will be a focus on helping women fleeing domestic abuse. Also highlighted was special help for senior women. Almost 25 percent of funds is expected to focus on help for women and girls.
Some of the other general targets mentioned:
- 7,000 new shelter spaces
- 2,400 units for developmentally disabled
- 12,000 new affordable units for seniors.