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.
This RHI covers the construction of modular housing, as well as the acquisition of land, and the conversion of existing buildings into affordable housing options. The funding is much needed and will help municipalities address urgent housing needs for those who are vulnerable. To learn more, see here.
The RHI covers the costs, including the acquisition of land, associated with:
- construction of modular housing;
- the conversion of non-residential to residential; and
- the renovation of uninhabitable buildings to become habitable.
This initiative will be delivered through two funding streams:
Major Cities Stream: which will flow directly to municipalities to ensure funds are directed to areas where chronic homelessness is most prevalent and;
Projects Stream: which will prioritize applications received from Provinces, Territories, municipalities, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations and non-profits based on the overall strength of the application.
As part of the Major Cities funding stream, the Halifax Regional Municipality has been identified for immediate funding of $8,659,527 to create a minimum of 28 units of new permanent affordable housing.
The municipality has evaluated the Expressions of Interest and has 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.
The recommendations have been approved by CMHC. Please see here for the press release.
Questions can be directed to Jillian MacLellan at 902-717-3167 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Qualifications for funding
Costs must be associated with one of the three categories noted below to develop permanent housing under the Rapid Housing Initiative:
- Construction of modular housing including acquisition of land;
- Conversion of non-residential building to a residential building including acquisition of land;
- Renovation of existing housing that is currently uninhabitable including acquisition of land.
Projects funded under the Rapid Housing Initiative (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.
- The municipality will also take a community benefits approach by prioritizing 30 per cent of projects targeted to women and 15 per cent targeted to Urban Indigenous peoples.