Everyone in Canada deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Affordable housing is key to Canada’s pandemic recovery, especially for communities across the country, including in Calgary.
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, alongside George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary – Skyview, the Honourable Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing for Alberta, and Jyoti Gondek, Mayor of Calgary, today announced a federal investment of nearly $16.6 million to create up to 82 new affordable homes in Calgary through the Cities Stream under the expanded Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), as well as $2 million through the Canada – Alberta Bilateral Housing agreement under the National Housing Strategy. The City of Calgary previously committed $5.5M towards this project through its downtown strategy which seeks to support the conversion of surplus office space to housing.
Located at 706 7th Avenue SW, the project will convert an existing office building into 82 residential homes for families and seniors and also into emergency shelter space for those experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. HomeSpace, an affordable housing provider, and Inn from the Cold, an emergency shelter, will transform the space into a multi-family hub. Families in need will have access to shelter and support services, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing and services like childcare, all in one place.
Today’s announcement builds on the Government of Canada’s previous investment of $24.6 million through the first phase of the RHI to support the creation of 178 housing units in Calgary.
“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Today's funding will go a long way to support Calgarians who need it most by quickly providing 82 new affordable homes for those most vulnerable. This is one of the many ways our National Housing Strategy continues to ensure that no one is left behind.”
“Homelessness is a reality for too many Calgarians, and we are working to ensure everyone in our community has a safe place to call home. This additional funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative will help our most vulnerable citizens and will make a difference in the ongoing work to end homelessness and ensure housing affordability in Alberta and across the country.”
“Alberta’s government is proud to support this innovative project to help people who may need to stabilize in a shelter, and then access transitional housing, before moving into an affordable housing unit — all in one location. This is an example of how smart partnerships and building on community expertise will help us meet the diverse housing needs of Albertans.”
“All Calgarians deserve to be housed with dignity. This project is an example of what we can accomplish to tackle the complex challenge of affordable housing by working together across all orders of government and with the non-profit sector. This project is another important step forward in bringing much-needed housing to Calgarians, and in adding vibrancy to our downtown by converting vacant office towers into residential units.”
“We commend the generous investment from every level of government in the future of Calgarians. Not only will these affordable homes transform the lives of people in need, but also help bring vitality back downtown. This vacant office tower will soon be a lively family hub, demonstrating that there’s hope for Calgary’s most vulnerable families and for the downtown core.”
“We greatly appreciate the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, and the City of Calgary for supporting us in breaking the cycle of family homelessness. We believe a community where no child or family is homeless is possible and this funding will help us to provide safe and affordable homes for families in our community for years to come.”
- Construction for the project is already underway and is expected to be completed by winter 2022.
- The Rapid Housing Initiative is a $2.5 billion program that will quickly create over 10,000 new affordable homes for Canadians who need it most. New investments under the RHI will create thousands of jobs in the housing and construction sector, grow the middle class, and build back stronger communities, while getting us closer to our goal of eliminating chronic homelessness in Canada.
- The RHI is delivered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), under the National Housing Strategy (NHS).
- Canada’s NHS is an ambitious, 10-year plan that will invest over $72 billion to give more Canadians a place to call home. Launched in 2017, the NHS will build and repair thousands of housing units and help households with affordability support.
- The RHI is a $1 billion program launched in October 2020 to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, especially in the context of COVID-19, through the rapid construction of affordable housing.
- Due to this success, an additional $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) was announced through Budget 2021 with $500 million in funding under the Cities Stream being allocated to the following municipalities: Burnaby, Calgary, Capital Regional District, Durham, Edmonton, Gatineau, Greater Sudbury, Halifax, Hamilton, Iqaluit, Kingston, Laval, London, Longueil, Montreal, Niagara, Ottawa, Peel, Quebec, Regina, Saskatoon, Surrey, St. John’s, Toronto, Vancouver, Waterloo, Whitehorse, Windsor, Winnipeg, and Yellowknife. Under the Projects Stream: $1 billion has been allocated to eligible applications submitted during the RHI’s initial application period last fall and having not yet received funding.
- Based on feedback from stakeholders, this summer CMHC introduced new flexibilities to the RHI:
- Program applicants were eligible to receive funding for additional forms of new construction beyond modular, if units can be built within 12 months.
- Non-profits had the opportunity to demonstrate that they have the financial capacity to support the viability of units without government subsidy (self-funded).
- Cities were provided a longer time to submit projects (60 days instead of 30).
- Project delivery timelines were adjusted for projects located in the North and special access communities.
- At least 25 per cent of this new funding will go toward women-focused housing projects. The units will be built within 12 months of when funding is provided to program applicants.
- The RHI will continue to prioritize proposals that target units serving Indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups. It will also continue to provide flexibilities on timelines to Indigenous governing bodies or organizations as needed.
- The RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and other vulnerable people under the NHS, including women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people experiencing mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2 individuals, racialized and Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.
- CMHC supports the government’s efforts to improve the well-being of Canadians facing housing and homelessness challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Rapid Housing Initiative
- National Housing Strategy
- New Rapid Housing Initiative to create up to 3,000 new homes for Canadians
- Rapid Housing Initiative will exceed targets by creating more than 4,700 new homes for Canadians
- Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience
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. CMHC’s aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford, and that meets their needs. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.
For information on this release:
Office of the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation