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Habitat for Humanity asks feds to prioritize affordable homeownership in 2024 budget

Habitat for Humanity asks feds to prioritize affordable homeownership in 2024 budget

TORONTO — Habitat for Humanity Canada is calling on the Government of Canada to introduce measures in the upcoming federal budget that will strengthen the housing system, create housing supply and allow non-profits like Habitat to significantly increase access to affordable homeownership for Canadian families.

Habitat recently made recommendations to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland including deferring the GST paid on the sale of affordable homes built by affordable homeownership providers.

The homes Habitat for Humanity builds are subject to the same taxation as other newly-built houses, despite being intended for lower-income families who pay an affordable mortgage that doesn’t exceed approximately 30 per cent of their income, indicates a release.

In many cases, affordable housing providers are paying more in fees and taxes back to governments than they receive in government funding to help build affordable homes. According to the release, GST relief for non-profit builders like Habitat would represent less than 0.1 per cent of total government revenue from home sales and extend the same tax relief the federal government already offers for new rental housing.

Habitat also recommended speeding up the provision of surplus federal lands for affordable housing, as land acquisition is one of the biggest barriers to creating affordable housing and non-profit builders must compete against for-profit developers to acquire it.

Along with other housing organizations, Habitat is concerned the current processes for the release of, and access to, federal and other underutilized lands are blocking construction and the creation of mixed income, mixed-tenure communities, the release states.

“Budget 2024 is an opportunity to build a future where every Canadian has safe and decent housing,” said Julia Deans, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada, in a statement. “Through a simple taxation change and streamlined processes, the federal government can help non-profit builders like Habitat for Humanity get more houses built, and more families on the path to the security and independence of owning their own home.”

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