More than two thousand rental units of housing, including over 1,000 affordable units and 400 shelter-rate units, will be created in Victoria’s Capital Regional District with the goal to finally put an end to chronic homelessness. A mixed-market approach will allow the shelter-rate units to be rented for only $375 per month without ongoing subsidies.
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, along with the Honourable Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Steve Price, Board Chair of the Capital Regional District (CRD), announced a $90 million partnership to provide hundreds of Canadians suffering from homelessness a safe place to call home.
As part of this partnership, the federal government, through CMHC, is investing $30 million through the National Housing Strategy (NHS). One of the NHS’ objectives is a 50% reduction of chronic homelessness, by empowering local communities to deliver a combination of housing programs, and responsive and preventative measures such as the Regional Housing First Program (RHFP) in the capital region. Today’s announcement is a good example of how the NHS is delivering results right now.
The CRD Board is investing $30 million to create the RHFP, contributing to the capital costs associated with building affordable housing to address the needs of people experiencing chronic homelessness in the region. The provincial government, through BC Housing is also contributing a matching $30 million to the RHFP. Island Health will be providing health supports where and when required to support tenants.
The announcement took place at Siem Lelum, a 41-unit affordable rental housing development for Indigenous people who are at risk of becoming homeless in Victoria. Phase I included the renovation of a former hotel to provide 26 units, while Phase II included the construction of a standalone 15-unit building on the property, bringing the total to 41 homes. The project received $4.3 million from the governments of Canada and British Columbia under the Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement.
“Thanks to today’s investment and our collaboration with partners at the provincial and municipal levels, we’re going to make homelessness history in Victoria. In Canada’s first-ever National Housing Strategy, our government made a commitment to reduce chronic homeless across the country by 50%, and to work with partners at all levels to give more Canadians a place to call home. Today’s announcement shows those two pillars of the strategy in action.”
“There’s an urgent need for more housing people can afford in the region and throughout the province. It is through partnerships like these that we will be able to create the right mix of affordable housing opportunities for British Columbians. This mix of housing will deliver homes that low and middle-income people can afford, while also making sure people in greatest need have access to safe, secure housing with the right support services in place to help them succeed. I look forward to working with the federal government and the CRD to continue to address this critical issue.”
“Housing affordability and availability is a critical issue in the capital region and it requires a strong regional response. The CRD is thrilled that both the Province and now the Government of Canada have joined in this important effort to significantly impact homelessness in the region and allow us to deliver more critical housing units. I am delighted to stand with our Provincial and Federal partners as we see the benefits of working together and the outcome that can happen from that collaboration.”
- The National Housing Strategy, through the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, is providing $208.3 million over 5 years for projects that showcase new funding models and innovative building techniques, lowering the costs and risks of financing affordable housing projects and helping to make the affordable housing sector more attractive for private market developers and investors.
- The Regional Housing First Program partnership is expected to create 2,010 rental units, including 400 shelter-rate units within projects that will also include 625 affordable rental units and 985 market rental units.
- The shelter-rate units provide the down payment to initiate the project, then the revenue from all of the affordable rental units and market rental units in the building will cover the operating and maintenance costs of each project.
- Housing First has been implemented with success in other communities in Canada, but this project is the largest in scale with such an ambitious objective, aiming to demonstrate that chronic homelessness can be eliminated in Canadian communities through planning and partnerships.
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 objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry. For more information, follow us on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.
To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, visit www.placetocallhome.ca.
Information on this release:
Office of Minister Duclos
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation