Solutions Labs will bring experts and housing stakeholders together to rapidly incubate and scale potential solutions to housing pressures. Housing Sector teams with diverse experience and knowledge are invited to identify housing challenges in the Strategy’s key priority areas. Then, they will be asked to propose strategies to co-develop new, world-leading solutions.

There is up to $500,000 in funding available for the 2018–2019 year. Annual funding will grow to $3 million in subsequent years.

OVERVIEW

Solutions Labs provides funding that allows stakeholders across Canada to co-develop solutions to challenges in housing like:

  • affordability
  • social inclusion
  • northern and remote supports
  • Indigenous housing
  • environmental sustainability

Diverse stakeholders – including those with lived experience – will work together. They will examine and reframe current housing issues, use new problem-solving processes and co-develop innovative solutions. Time for testing to determine the potential for uptake is included.  Solutions Labs are inclusive and foster a rapid deployment of solutions to persistent affordable housing challenges.

The labs will lead to the development of solutions to identified housing issues within the Strategy’s key priority areas. Potential solutions may include emerging technologies, best practices, innovative policies or programs.

Solutions Labs will be a catalyst for driving action and innovation in the affordable housing sector. It will enable of sector viability and sustainability by providing a roadmap from successful solution development to full-scale uptake.


 

FUND DETAILS

To align Solutions Labs project proposals with the National Housing Strategy, issues to be examined must support the Strategy’s key priority areas.

Eligible applicants include:

  • affordable housing providers
  • academic institutions
  • government agencies
  • Indigenous organizations
  • agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations involved in the Strategy’s keyNHS priority area activities academic institutions
  • individuals with lived experiences that can provide first hand expertise to co-development of solutions
  • private sector stakeholders  (including builders, developers, designers and planners)

CMHC’s annual budget for Solutions Labs is $3 million. We anticipate that budgets for each Solutions Lab will range from $25,000 to $250,000.

Eligible expenses include:

  • background research, ethnographic studies and interviews
  • social media and graphic design for use in Solutions Labs projects
  • Solutions Labs event planning, co-ordination and facilitation
  • knowledge transfer during and after Solutions Labs events including videos, web content, research reports, documentation of project activities , innovation deployment strategies
  • stakeholder participation, accommodation, transportation and expert per diems

Proponents will receive funding from CMHC to work with leading affordable housing stakeholders and Solutions Lab Consultants to address key challenges.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Solutions Labs funding will be available for labs that that focus on:

  • resolving affordable housing challenges within the Strategy’s key priority areas or facing priority populations
  • gathering a wide range of stakeholders including those with lived experiences to find solutions that are practical replicable, implementable, and deliverable within a realistic timeframe
  • targeting the creation of prototype solutions such as technologies, policies, programs, or standards

Solutions Labs will be funded through an annual open-call process.

CMHC may fund Solutions Labs to support proponents applying for other National Housing Strategy funding to create new housing or modernize existing housing. This allows proponents to overcome barriers to their projects or to capitalize on opportunities to improve performance and enhance outcomes.

CMHC may also fund Solutions Labs on issues, challenges and opportunities identified by affordable housing partners and stakeholders outside of the open call process.

Recipients of Solutions Lab funding will report on their activities. This will include:

  • pre-lab exploratory research 
  • lab activities
  • lab participants
  • prototypical solutions developed and tested
  • road map development of next steps from prototype to wide scale uptake

CMHC will assess lab participant perceptions of the experience and awareness, knowledge and potential uptake of the solutions developed.

APPROVAL PROCESS

Applications for Solutions Lab funding will go through an annual, 2-stage competitive process.  

Stage 1

Each year in April, CMHC will issue a Request for Expression of Interest (EOI). Proponents will then have 4 weeks to submit an EOI that must contain:

  • problem description
  • list of the proposed Solutions Lab team and partners
  • relevance of the proposed lab to the Strategy’s key priority areas and populations
  • potential impacts if the Solutions Labs are successful

CMHC will take 3-4 weeks to evaluate the EOIs. A shortlist of winning teams will be advised by email.

Stage 2

Successful teams will receive a list of Solutions Lab Consultants on standing offer with CMHC. This will help prepare and submit a detailed proposal to CMHC within 4–6 weeks. The proposals will be evaluated and prioritized based on several criteria:

  • the Solutions Lab teams and partners  
  • availability of co-funding
  • lab approach and methodologies 
  • potential impact  

CMHC will take 3–4 weeks to evaluate and approve proposals. Contribution agreements with winning teams are expected to be signed by fall of 2018.

Note: Successful applicants shortlisted for Stage 2 must identify the Solutions Lab Consultant they propose to work with. CMHC has a pre-approved list of consultants for stakeholders to access. If stakeholders choose to collaborate with someone else, they must meet the same criteria used for the pre-approved list. Detailed information regarding the criteria will be available in the Stage 2 Applicant’s Guide.

RESOURCES

**Important: To use this interactive PDF, right click (Ctrl + click on Mac) the link to save the file, and then open it in Adobe Acrobat.

SUBMIT YOUR FUNDING APPLICATION

The applications for 2018 are now closed.

Contact

General inquiries about the National Housing Strategy or technical support

Date Published: May 2, 2018