As Canadians have done their part to contain the spread of COVID-19, home has become a sanctuary — a place of safety and refuge. That is why the Government of Canada is working to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home.
Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), announced a new Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by rapidly creating new affordable housing. The initiative will also help support Canada’s economic recovery by creating employment in the housing and construction sectors.
Delivered by CMHC, this $1 billion initiative will cover the construction of modular housing, as well as the acquisition of land, and the conversion of existing buildings to affordable housing. The RHI is the newest initiative of the National Housing Strategy (NHS). It is expected to enable the rapid creation of up to 3,000 new affordable housing units across the country and will help stimulate the economy.
In addition to this substantial investment in housing, the Government of Canada will provide $236.7 million through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy to help extend and expand the emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding is in addition to the $157.5 million announced in April 2020 to help communities address the immediate impacts of the pandemic. This new investment will enable communities to extend the emergency measures that have been successful in reducing the risk of potential outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness, as well as provide them the flexibility to deliver affordable housing solutions.
“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. With the Rapid Housing Initiative, our Government is moving quickly to provide more affordable housing to keep our vulnerable populations safe, to fight the virus over the long-term, and to support Canada’s economic recovery.”
“We know that Canadians experiencing homelessness are at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. That’s why it is so important that we continue to ensure that communities have the resources they need to support those who are experiencing homelessness. I believe this renewed investment in Reaching Home and new funds for supportive housing will go a long way to effectively support those who need it most.”
- Today’s announcement was held at the intersection of Markham Street and Lennox Street in Toronto, the traditional territories of the Ojibway, the Anishnabe and the Mississauga’s of the New Credit. The territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.
- The Government of Canada has acted on the priorities expressed by key partners, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), provinces, territories, the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH), Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA), and other key housing organizations, associations and advocates, to help address the need for the rapid acquisition of land, and the construction of modular housing as well as the acquisition of buildings to convert to affordable housing.
- RHI funding will be available to municipalities, provinces, territories, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, and non-profit organizations.
- The RHI complements Canada’s homelessness program by providing targeted funding to create new housing for people and populations who are vulnerable and who may also receive supports and services under Reaching Home.
- The 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 violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2, racialized groups including Black Canadians, and recent immigrants and refugees. The RHI will complement other NHS initiatives and contribute to the overall NHS targets and outcomes. It will help reduce housing need, and support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, by introducing a range of housing solutions and make a immediate difference in the lives of vulnerable people in our community.
- Announced in 2017, the NHS is an ambitious 10-year, $55+ billion plan that will give 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 and reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent.
- While the funding profile for the NHS spans a 10-year timeframe, the RHI is a rapid response to emerging pressures from COVID-19. The majority of these funds will be committed to projects in 2020-21, with spending continuing into 2022.
- Additional details about this initiative will be announced shortly.
- CMHC continues to play a key role in the Government’s efforts to support the well-being of Canadians facing housing affordability and homelessness challenges in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Government of Canada’s additional $236.7 million investment through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, is in response to the gaps and pressures identified by key stakeholders.
- This additional investment through the Reaching Home will continue to support communities in responding to the impacts of COVID-19 based on local needs and priorities, as well as help support affordable housing solutions for those experiencing homelessness and prevent further inflows into homelessness.
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 unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation