OTTAWA — The federal government has announced a new $1-billion initiative designed to rapidly develop affordable housing.
A Sept. 21 release stated that the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) will also help support Canada’s economic recovery by creating employment in the construction sectors.
Delivered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the program 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 will be administered as part of the National Housing Strategy (NHS) and is expected to create up to 3,000 new affordable housing units across the country.
In addition to the RHI, the federal government will allocate $236.7 million through its Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy as part of its emergency response to homelessness exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding is in addition to the $157.5 million announced in April 2020 to help communities address the immediate impacts of the pandemic.
The release stated the government was reacting to priorities identified by such stakeholders as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the provinces, territories, the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association.
RHI funding will be available to municipalities, provinces, territories, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, and non-profit organizations. The RHI is a targeted response to emerging pressures from COVID-19, the statement explained, and it is expected that all funds will be committed by March 31, 2021.