Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for affordable housing and led to rising levels of homelessness. The Government of Canada created a national strategy to build hundreds of thousands of units and provide affordable housing to people across the country. By continuing to make investments in affordable housing, the federal, provincial, and municipal governments are working together to build stronger communities, create jobs, and grow our middle class, while reducing homelessness and helping vulnerable Canadians.
Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, along with the Honourable Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Seniors and Member of Parliament for Dartmouth – Cole Harbour; the Honourable Karla MacFarlane, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Community Services; and Mike Savage, Mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality, announced $6.5 million in federal allocation for a supportive housing project designed for the chronically homeless in the Halifax Regional Municipality through the Cities Stream under the expanded Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). The province will contribute $3.5 million to purchase the former Travelodge hotel and will cover $1.5 million in annual operating costs.
The project, a renovation of The Overlook at 101 Yorkshire Avenue in Dartmouth, is the first to be announced under the expanded RHI program. It will provide 65 rooms.
This funding is in addition to the Government of Canada’s previous investment of $8.7 million through the first phase of the Rapid Housing Initiative to support the creation of up to 57 housing units in Halifax. The Province of Nova Scotia contributed more than $1.8 million at that time.
This new investment will create thousands of good 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.
“Every Canadian deserves the peace of mind of a safe and affordable place to call home. Today's announcement, along with the funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative, will go a long way to support those who need it most. It will quickly provide 65 new affordable homes for Dartmouth’s most vulnerable population and keep them safe. This is one of the ways our National Housing Strategy continues to ensure that no one is left behind.”
“Our Government’s support through the Rapid Housing Initiative will help provide safe, supportive housing here in Dartmouth for those most vulnerable. Quickly repurposing this hotel into comfortable housing for those who need it the most will leave a lasting positive impact on our community. We’re always stronger when we work together, and good initiatives like this one are strengthened by having all orders of government at the table.”
“Many people experiencing chronic homelessness need additional support to maintain housing. This partnership will provide the supports needed for people to live safe and meaningful lives within their community. We look forward to welcoming people to their new home.”
“The Rapid Housing Initiative is a testament to what can happen when all orders of government and social agencies join in common purpose to build much-needed affordable homes and address the housing crisis. Together, we can improve the lives of vulnerable people by starting with safe, secure, stable housing.”
“The Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia is thrilled to be a partner with the North End Community Health Centre in buying and operating the former Travelodge Suites, and converting it to supportive housing. Offering harm reduction housing will help us reduce chronic homelessness in Halifax Regional Municipality. We’re grateful for the support from all three levels of government.”
“The North End Community Health Clinic is thrilled to partner on providing permanent supportive housing to people who would otherwise not have access to housing. These units will provide safe and independent living for people in our community through a harm reduction approach so they can live with stability and dignity.”
- The RHI is delivered by the 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, andhelp 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 in 2021, 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 33 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.
- 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
Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Nova Scotia Department of Community Services
John Wedderburn for Mayor Savage