The Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) is a Federal program that provides funding for the rapid development of new residential units that will provide housing for those in need of deeply affordable housing. Units must be targeted to vulnerable populations who are homeless or at severe risk of experiencing homelessness with a percentage of housing that must be targeted to women/women with children, urban indigenous populations, and Black Canadians.
To date there have been two rounds of RHI funding. Both rounds are delivered through two funding streams:
• Cities Stream which flows directly to municipalities to ensure funds are directed to areas where there is the highest incidence of renters in severe housing need, and;
• Projects Stream where proponents apply directly to CMHC and are considered amongst submissions received across Canada.
As part of the Cities funding stream, the Halifax Regional Municipality was identified for immediate funding totaling $21,638,548 to create a minimum of 71 units; $8,659,527 to create a minimum of 28 units in Round 1 and $12,979,021 to create a minimum of 43 units in Round 2. Through the two rounds of funding, HRM supported the development of 6 projects totaling 137 units.
Rapid Housing Initiative - Round 1
In October 2020, the federal government launched a new Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) that invests $1 billion dollars to create up to 3,000 new permanent, affordable housing units across Canada. In November 2020, the municipality evaluated the Expressions of Interest and selected the following projects: Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre, Adsum for Women and Children and the North End Community Health Association for a total of 52 units/rooms. See the report here.
Projects from Round 1 are currently under development.
Rapid Housing Initiative – Round 2
On June 30, 2021, the Federal Government launched Round 2 of the RHI which includes an additional investment of $1.5 billion that is expected to create up to 4,500 new permanent, affordable housing units across the country. Over the summer of 2021 the municipality evaluated project proposals and recommended projects from the following three organizations to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for funding:
- Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia
- Akoma Holdings Incorporated
- Souls Harbour
View the report. Projects from Round 2 are also currently under development.
Rapid Housing Initiative –Background
The RHI is a federal program aimed at creating new, deeply, affordable housing units targeted to households and individuals who are homeless or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness within a 12 month period.
Funding is delivered through two funding streams:
- Cities Stream: which will flow directly to municipalities to ensure funds are directed to areas where there is the highest incidence of renters in severe housing need and;
- Projects Stream: where proponents apply directly to CMHC and are considered amongst submissions received across Canada.
Qualifications for funding
Costs must be associated with one of the three categories noted below (including the acquisition of land):
- Construction of new affordable residential units
- The conversion of non-residential to residential
- The renovation of uninhabitable buildings to become habitable
Projects funded under the RHI must be constructed within 12 months of the investment plan being agreed to, operate for a minimum of 20 years, and meet the following affordability criteria:
- All units must serve and be affordable (household is paying less than 30 per cent of gross income on housing costs) to targeted people and populations who are vulnerable and who are also, or otherwise would be, in severe housing need or people at high risk of homelessness. Affordability must be maintained for a minimum of 20 years.
- A household is said to be in core housing need if its housing falls below at least one of the adequacy, affordability or suitability standards and it would have to spend 30 per cent or more of its total before tax income to pay the median rent of alternative local housing that is acceptable (meets all three housing standards).
- Homelessness is described as the situation of an individual, family or community without stable, safe, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it. Populations at imminent risk of homelessness are defined as individuals or families whose current housing situation will end in the near future (for example, within two months) and for whom no subsequent residence has been established.
Questions can be directed to Jillian MacLellan at 902-717-3167 or firstname.lastname@example.org.