CANADA SUPPORTS RAPID HOUSING PROJECTS IN EDMONTON

EDMONTON, AB, Jan. 12, 2022 /CNW/ – Everyone in Canada deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for affordable housing. The Government of Canada created a national strategy to build and renovate hundreds of thousands of units and provide affordable housing to people across the country. By continuing to make investments in affordable housing, the government is building stronger communities, creating jobs, and growing our middle class, while fighting homelessness and helping Canadians who are vulnerable.

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, alongside the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, and Amarjeet Sohi, Mayor of Edmonton, today announced more than $14.8 million to create up to 138 new affordable homes for individuals in Edmonton through the Cities Stream under the expanded Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). These housing units will support Canadians who are in uncertain housing situations, experiencing or at risk of homelessness, or living in temporary shelters because of the pandemic.

These funds will go towards two new affordable housing projects located in Edmonton.

  • The first project, located at 10333 University Avenue NW will convert the former Days Inn Hotel into up to 85 new homes for Indigenous peoples as well as those experiencing or at risk of homelessness and will be operated by The Mustard Seed.
  • The second project located at 12340 Fort Road NW will convert the former Sands Hotel into 53 new homes for Indigenous people and will be operated by NiGiNan Housing Ventures.

This is in addition to the Government of Canada’s previous investment of over $42 million through the first phase of the Rapid Housing Initiative to support the creation of up to 247 housing units in Edmonton.

New investments under the Rapid Housing Initiative will create thousands of jobs in the housing and construction sector, grow the middle class, and build back stronger communities, while getting us closer to our goal of eliminating chronic homelessness in Canada.

Quotes:

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Today’s funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative will go a long way to support those who need it most by quickly providing 138 new affordable homes for vulnerable individuals in Edmonton. This is one of the ways our National Housing Strategy continues to ensure no one is left behind.”The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion

“Homelessness is a reality for too many Edmontonians, and we are working to ensure everyone in our community has a safe place to call home. This additional funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative will help our most vulnerable citizens, and will make a difference in the ongoing work to end homelessness and ensure housing affordability in Alberta and across the country.” – The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre

“Today’s announcement means that up to 138 families will now have a place of their own to call home. A place where they can keep warm and feel safe. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the number of houseless Edmontonians to double over the last two years so these new housing spaces will help to address the housing crisis we are currently facing. I look forward to continuing to work with the federal government as we work towards ensuring that every Edmontonian has a safe place to call home.” Amarjeet Sohi, Mayor of Edmonton

“We greatly appreciate the Government of Canada and City of Edmonton for supporting us in our mission to create a safe, welcoming and culturally-sensitive option for Indigenous Peoples, and others who are experiencing chronic houselessness. The Sands supportive rapid housing initiative, like our others, Ambrose Place and Omamoo Wango Gamik, enacts change for residents and the community by providing a cost-effective and human approach to housing.” Carola Cunningham, CEO of NiGiNan Housing Ventures

“The Mustard Seed is honoured to receive funding through Rapid Housing Initiative, and we thank the Government of Canada for their support. The number of people unhoused in Edmonton has grown substantially in the last few years and there is a critical shortage of affordable and supportive housing options. We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the solution, and to be able to offer a safe, inclusive space for people to call home.” Dean Kurpjuweit, Chief Regional Officer of The Mustard Seed

Quick facts:

  • The RHI is delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), under the National Housing Strategy (NHS). 
  • Canada’s NHS is an ambitious, 10-year plan that will invest over $72 billion to give more Canadians a place to call home. Launched in 2017, the NHS will build and repair thousands of housing units, and help households with affordability support. 
  • The RHI is a $1 billion program launched in October 2020 to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, especially in the context of COVID-19, through the rapid construction of affordable housing.
  • Due to this success, an additional $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) was announced through Budget 2021 with $500 million in funding under the Cities Stream being allocated to the following municipalities: Burnaby, Calgary, Capital Regional District, Durham, Edmonton, Gatineau, Greater Sudbury, Halifax, Hamilton, Iqaluit, Kingston, Laval, London, Longueil, Montreal, Niagara, Ottawa, Peel, Quebec, Regina, Saskatoon, Surrey, St. John’s, Toronto, Vancouver, Waterloo, Whitehorse, Windsor, Winnipeg, and Yellowknife. Under the Projects Stream: $1 billion has been allocated to eligible applications submitted during the RHI’s initial application period last fall and having not yet received funding.
  • Based on feedback from stakeholders, this summer CMHC introduced new flexibilities to the RHI: 
    • Program applicants were eligible to receive funding for additional forms of new construction beyond modular, if units can be built within 12 months.
    • Non-profits had the opportunity to demonstrate that they have the financial capacity to support the viability of units without government subsidy (self-funded). 
    • Cities were provided a longer time to submit projects (60 days instead of 30).
    • Project delivery timelines were adjusted for projects located in the North and special access communities.
  • At least 25 per cent of this new funding will go toward women-focused housing projects. The units will be built within 12 months of when funding is provided to program applicants.
  • The RHI will continue to prioritize proposals that target units serving Indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups. It will also continue to provide flexibilities on timelines to Indigenous governing bodies or organizations as needed.
  • The RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and other vulnerable people under the NHS, including: women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people experiencing mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2 individuals, racialized and Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.
  • CMHC supports the government’s efforts to improve the well-being of Canadians facing housing and homelessness challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Associated links:

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.

SOURCE Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

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