Image Credit: Canadian Business
On March 22, the Federal government released its 2017 Budget. As originally announced last year, it contains funds for a new National Housing Strategy, proposing a $11.2 billion investment over the next 11 years. This will support the construction and the renewal of affordable housing in Canada, as well as research and initiatives to prevent homelessness.
Developing and Strengthening Affordable Housing
The Government acknowledges that access to safe and affordable housing for every citizen is of utmost importance for Canadians and will promote the well-being of the country. Therefore, affordable housing investments make up a large portion of the Government’s strategy.
- A $3.2 billion investment to help provinces and territories build or renovate affordable housing units and support geared rent programs.
- A new National Housing Fund of $5 billion that will be administered through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to encourage large-scale collaboration between housing actors, support innovations for affordable housing, provide an Affordable Rental Housing Financing Initiative with low-cost loans, and establish a fund and technical resources to help housing providers transition to more sustainable business models.
- $202 million to make surplus federal lands and buildings available to housing providers.
Targeted Actions for Vulnerable Populations
In addition to the aforementioned efforts, the budget presents investments to support vulnerable communities facing aggravated housing issues.
- $300 million to provide targeted support for housing in northern and Inuit communities, where cost of construction is higher.
- $225 million to provide financial support to housing providers serving Indigenous Peoples off-reserve facing cultural obstacles to access adequate housing.
Studying and Preventing Homelessness
The Federal government plans investment in, improve and encourage research and data collection on housing and homelessness to produce informed policy decisions. Furthermore, the budget contains direct funding to support communities across Canada with projects to prevent and reduce homelessness, including Housing First initiatives.
- $2.1 billion to expand and extend funding for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy
- $241 million to CMHC to improve data collection and analytics
- Over and above the National Housing Strategy, $39.9 million over five years, and $6.6 million per year thereafter, to Statistics Canada for a new Housing Statistics Framework. The first statistics will be published in the fall of 2017
The full budget can be read at: www.budget.gc.ca