EDMONTON, AB, Dec. 15, 2020 /CNW/ - Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that affordable housing is key to Canada's recovery as major cities across the country including Edmonton are dealing with the devastating impacts of rising levels of homelessness and housing need.
Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and Don Iveson, the Mayor of Edmonton, announced details of the $17.3 million Rapid Housing Initiative allocation for Edmonton.
With funding support from the Major Cities Stream, the City of Edmonton, in partnership with Homeward Trust, will build 80 new units of supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness. The two developments, located in King Edward Park and Wellington, will use off-site modular construction techniques and be complete by the end of 2021.
With the $1 billion RHI, the Government of Canada will support the construction of up to 3,000 permanent, new affordable housing units across Canada to help address urgent housing needs for Canadians, and especially our most vulnerable.
Delivered by CMHC, under the National Housing Strategy (NHS), RHI provides the necessary capital contributions to develop new, permanent affordable housing by covering costs associated with modular multi-unit rental construction; conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential; and, rehabilitation of buildings in disrepair and/or abandoned to affordable multi-residential.
"Our Government wants to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home. Investments with our municipal partners like Edmonton under the Rapid Housing Initiative's Major Cities Stream will go a long way to effectively supporting those who need it most by quickly providing new affordable housing units to vulnerable individuals and families to keep them safe. This is one of the ways our Government's National Housing Strategy continues to provide housing for Canadians from coast to coast to coast." - The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
"Today's announcement supports Edmonton's effort to address housing for those who are most in need, and we are most grateful to the Government of Canada's investment. The $17.3 million allocated for our city's housing projects provides a good start, especially so in a pandemic. Looking ahead, we are hoping that the federal government will articulate in the coming months how it fulfills the goal of ending chronic homelessness here in Edmonton and across the country as referenced in its fall throne speech." – Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton
"The Rapid Housing Initiative will have an immediate impact on our community, providing us the resources to expedite the construction of permanent supportive housing units which are critically needed to end chronic homelessness in Edmonton. The pandemic has underscored what we already know to be true – housing is required to ensure the health and safety of our citizens. We look forward to continued support from our partners to ensure our vulnerable neighbours are successful on their journey out of homelessness." - Susan McGee, CEO, Homeward Trust
Edmonton has a goal to build 2500 new units of affordable housing, in all areas of the city, by 2022. The City surpassed the halfway mark this fall, with support approved for 1,307 new units.
- The City of Edmonton is contributing $2.75 million in capital funding and development sites worth over $3 million for the supportive housing projects in King Edward Park and Wellington.
- Under the Major Cities Stream of funding, $500 million is allocated to pre-identified municipalities with the highest levels of renters in severe housing need and people experiencing homelessness. Municipalities can flow funds through a third-party (including a provincial or territorial government).
- Under the Projects Stream of funding, $500 million in application-based projects from provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, and non-profit organizations. Applications will be accepted until December 31, 2020.
- RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and others who are among the most vulnerable, including: women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2+, racialized groups, Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.
- The National Housing Strategy is an ambitious 10-year, $55+ billion plan that is giving more Canadians across the country a place to call home, creating 125,000 new housing units and reducing housing need for 530,000 households, as well as repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units.
- The 2020 Fall Economic Statement proposes to increase the lending capacity of the existing National Housing Strategy's Rental Construction Financing Initiative by an additional $12 billion over seven years. This new funding will enable CMHC to support the construction of an additional 28,500 purpose-built rental housing units across Canada.