Affordable Housing Grant Program

The 2022-2023 Affordable Housing Grant Program is now open. We will be accepting applications until December 1, 2022. 

There are four different types of applications available this year:

While the Affordable Housing Grant Program is mainly funded through the density bonus program, which is only applicable to projects within the Regional Centre, $200,000 has been allocated from the Planning and Development operations budget that can be used to support projects anywhere in the municipality.

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About the Affordable Housing Grant

The Affordable Housing Grant Program is open to all registered non-profit or charitable organizations for costs associated with the development, renovation or purchase (including land) of affordable housing units. A complete overview of the program’s requirements and eligible work can be found in Regional Council’s Administrative Order. 

Want to learn more? Attend our webinar on Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. (Noon) or email the Grant team.  

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    Affordable Housing Grant Recipients 2021-2022

    Here are the successful applicants from the 2021-2022 Affordable Housing Grant Program: 

    •    The Affirmative Ventures project was awarded $162,636 to contribute to the new development of a 45-unit residential dwelling with commercial/social enterprise space. The project is located in Dartmouth and will target seniors and residents facing mental health challenges.  

    •    The Welcome Housing (Metro Non-Profit Housing Association)/YWCA project was awarded $180,327 for the renovation of a 4-unit building to provide affordable and supportive housing for mother-led families through the YWCA’s Supportive Housing for Young Mothers (SHYM) program. This project is located in Halifax. 

    •    The Compass Nova Scotia project was awarded $472,282 to contribute to the new development of a 56-unit affordable co-op development. The project is located in Halifax and will target 50% of its units to residents in the following communities: women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, veterans, people dealing with mental health and addiction issues, LGBTQ2+, racialized groups, recent immigrants and people experiencing homelessness. 

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    Who is eligible?

    The Affordable Housing Grant Program is eligible to registered non-profit or charitable organizations that have been incorporated for at least one year.

    Partnerships between a registered non-profit/charitable organization and a private developer may be considered where there is an agreement for the transfer of ownership of the affordable dwelling units, that are the subject of the grant, to the non-profit/charitable organization prior to occupancy.

    When is the deadline?

    We will accept applications to the 2022 Affordable Housing Grant Program between September 1 and December 1, 2022.

    How do I Apply?

    To apply for this program, complete the appropriate application form from the list below, and email the required supporting documentation as outlined in the form. 
    Application Form - construction of new units 
    Application Form - rehabilitation or renovation of existing units 
    Application Form - purchase of existing units 
    Application Form - support for support building assessments 

    Email the required attachments to the Grant team. Remember to include your project title and contact information in the email. 

    How are applications prioritized?

    The 2022/23 Grant program will prioritize those projects that will provide deeply affordable units and anticipate starting construction by next year (2023). 

    Beyond this, projects are prioritized based on criteria outlined in the Administrative Order:

    Section 25 - The following criteria will be used to prioritize applications:

    (a)    projects that have applied and are eligible for funding by
             a.    the Province of Nova Scotia, including Housing Nova Scotia, or
             b.    the Government of Canada, including Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), 
    for the purposes of developing or restoring affordable housing units;
    (b)    projects that are required to provide a public benefit for incentive or bonus zoning pursuant to incentive and bonus zoning provisions of the Centre Plan, Downtown Halifax Plan, or a development agreement;
    (c)    projects by those non-profit organizations that currently serve those in need of deep affordability;
    (d)    projects that exceed accessibility requirements of the National Building Code;
    (e)    projects that include energy-efficient design and components that substantially exceed the requirements of the National Building Code;
    (f)    projects that have received an order from the Municipality to comply with By-law M-200, the Standards For Residential Occupancies By-law;
    (g)    projects that demonstrate financial self-sustainability;
    (h)    projects by applicants that demonstrate resources and capacity to support additional housing units;
    (i)    projects by applicants with experience in successfully managing existing affordable housing dwelling units; and
    (j)    balancing the allocation of money collected through the density and incentive bonus program to different areas of the Regional Centre.

    Common Questions

    1. What is the Affordable Housing Grant Program? 
    HRM’s Centre Plan, which was approved by HRM Regional Council in two parts in 2019 and 2021, includes provisions requiring some developments to provide a “public benefit”. At least 60% of the required public benefit must be money in lieu of affordable housing, paid into the Municipality’s Bonus Zoning Reserve.   

    The AHG was created by HRM Regional Council to fund affordable housing within the Municipality. The Grant is controlled by Administrative Order Number 2020-008-ADM Respecting Grants for Affordable Housing, which was passed by HRM Regional Council on September 30, 2020.

    For 2022, the available funds come from two sources:

    • the Bonus Zoning Reserve; and 
    • $200,000 from Planning & Development's Operations Budget

    Funds from the Bonus Zoning Reserve can only be allocated to projects within the Regional Centre. Funds from the Planning and Development operations budget can be used to support projects anywhere in the municipality. 
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    2. The Administrative Order includes helpful definitions. Here are some that may be useful when you are reading through these common questions:  

    Affordable Housing: means housing that meets the needs of a variety of households in the low to moderate-income range

    Deep Affordability: means dwelling units rented at a minimum of 40% below the average market rents for a dwelling unit of the same type and within the most specific geographic zone available through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation or Statistics Canada;

    Non-Profit Organization: means a

    (i) society incorporated pursuant to the NS Societies Act;

    (ii) non-profit association incorporated pursuant to the NS Co-Operative Associations Act;

    (iii) not-for-profit incorporated pursuant to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act;

    (iv) non-profit organization otherwise incorporated pursuant to an Act of the Nova Scotia Legislature, or 

    (v) registered Canadian charitable organization;

    Regional Centre Area: means the Regional Centre Area shown on the most recent version of Schedule 1 of the Regional Centre Land Use By-law.                                                    ____________________________________________________________________

    3. What kinds of units are eligible for the Grant?

    Any type of dwelling unit is potentially eligible, including apartments or condominiums, homes, duplexes or townhouses. Eligible units must be owned by a qualified Non-Profit Organization (NPO), as defined in the Administrative Order to be eligible for the Grant.                                                      ____________________________________________________________________

    4. How many projects will be selected?
    The number of projects selected will depend on the number and quality of applications received, and by the amounts being requested by the selected projects.

    Note: the full requested amount may not be awarded to each applicant. 
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    5. At what stage of the development process does the Non-Profit Organization (NPO) have to own the units dwelling units to be eligible for the Grant?
    Prior to the Grant being disbursed to successful applicants, one of the following conditions must apply:

    • The subject property or units must be owned by one or more NPOs; or
    • For funds to be distributed prior to ownership by an NPO, a written agreement confirming that ownership of the units will be conveyed to an NPO prior to Occupancy is required.    ____________________________________________________________________                                                                  

    6. Is it enough that a Non-Profit Organization is a partner in the proposed development?
    No. To be eligible for the Grant, each individual unit must be solely owned by one or more Non-Profit Organizations.
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      7. What happens if the grant is awarded and paid but the development is not completed?
    Successful applicants will be required to enter into a Contribution Agreement, which will include provisions that address potential changes to the development and what triggers will require the contribution to be returned to the municipality.                                            ____________________________________________________________________

    8. Are there any requirements for the size of the affordable units or the number of bedrooms in the units being provided?
    No. There are no requirements relating to the size of the units or the number of bedrooms to be eligible for the Affordable Housing Grant. However, proposed developments must meet all other Municipal requirements, including those in the applicable Land Use By-law and the Building Code.
                                             
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    9. What costs are eligible for the Affordable Housing Grant?

    The Affordable Housing Grant Program can provide funding for:

    • The development of new affordable housing units (inclusive of design and construction costs); 
    • The rehabilitation of existing affordable housing units (inclusive of design and construction costs);
    • Property and building assessments;
    • The acquisition of buildings, housing units, or properties for affordable housing

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    10. What costs are ineligible for the Affordable Housing Grant? 
    According to the Administrative Order, the following costs are ineligible for the Affordable Housing Grant: 

    ×    Private sector construction of affordable housing dwelling units;

    ×    Rehabilitation of affordable housing dwelling units that are not owned by a non-profit organization; and

    ×    Operating expenses of the non-profit organization, including wages of employees of the non-profit organization, debt payment, or losses from a previous fiscal year
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    11. Where can I find the application form?

    Application Form - construction of new units 
    Application Form - rehabilitation or renovation of existing units 
    Application Form - purchase of existing units 
    Application Form - support for support building assessments 

    Applicants should use the same application form for projects within and outside the Regional Centre Area.                                               ____________________________________________________________________

    12. What is the deadline for application? 
    The Administrative Order prescribes that AHG applications for the following year open on September 1st and close on December 1st. 

    The 2022 deadline will be Thursday, December 1, 2022. The Affordable Housing Grant review team must receive all materials required by the application form by this deadline. 

    Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to reach out to municipal staff prior to the deadline if there are any outstanding questions. We are here to help! 

    Email the Grant team for additional information. 

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    13. When will HRM decide which projects will receive the Grant? 
    The municipality will aim to notify successful applicants in the February following the application window.                                   ____________________________________________________________________     

    14. Can two Non-Profit Organizations apply for the Grant in Partnership with one another?
    Yes. As long as all applicants are qualified Non-Profit Organizations, applications from a partnership would be considered. 

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    15. Are projects funded by the Grant required to be completed in 2023?
    No, there is no requirement that funded projects be completed in 2023.
                                           ____________________________________________________________________                              

    16. Is the Affordable Housing Grant initiative a partnership with the Province or is it solely an HRM initiative?
    The Affordable Housing Grant is an HRM initiative. However, projects that also qualify for funding from Housing Nova Scotia or the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will be given priority. 
     

     

    Have questions about the Affordable Housing Grant Program? Send us an email.