Government of Canada announces support for Rapid Housing Initiative in Capital Regional District


March 24, 2021

Saanich, British Columbia — Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that affordable housing is key to Canada’s recovery as major cities across the country, including on Southern Vancouver Island, are dealing with significant challenges around homelessness and housing need.

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, Ken Hardie, Member of Parliament for Fleetwood–Port Kells, and Colin Plant, Chair of the Capital Regional District, announced details of the $13.1 million federal Rapid Housing Initiative allocation for the CRD, which will create up to 91 new affordable homes.

As part of its Investment Plan for the Major Cities Stream, the CRD is working in partnership with the Province, through BC Housing, and the Districts of Saanich and Central Saanich to deliver up to 91 new homes with 24/7 wraparound supports for people experiencing and at risk of homelessness.

Approximately 52 supportive homes will be built at 2933, 2941 and 2949 Albina St. in Saanich (construction is expected to start in summer 2021) and approximately 39 homes will be developed at 1909 Prosser Rd. in Central Saanich (construction is expected to start in spring 2021). Experienced non-profit housing providers will be selected to operate the housing.

The B.C. government will support the new housing with annual operating funding over 20 years.

With the $1 billion RHI, the Government of Canada will support the construction of over 4,700 permanent, new affordable housing units across Canada to help address urgent housing needs for people and populations who are marginalized.

Delivered by CMHC, under the National Housing Strategy (NHS), RHI provides capital contributions to develop new, permanent affordable homes. RHI contributions cover costs associated with modular multi-unit rental construction, the conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential, and the rehabilitation of buildings that are abandoned or in disrepair to affordable multi-residential buildings.

Quotes:

“Our Government is working hard to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home. Investments with our municipal partners like the Capital Regional District under the Rapid Housing Initiative’s Major Cities Stream will go a long way to effectively support those who need it most by quickly providing new affordable homes to vulnerable individuals and families to keep them safe.” – The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

“To address homelessness we’ll need to work with cities across the CRD. That’s why it’s so positive we see governments coming together to make sure people experiencing homelessness have access to homes with essential supports in Saanich and Central Saanich. These are the kind of partnerships we need to make real progress for the most vulnerable across the province.” – David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing

“Today’s announcement shows what is possible when there is a commitment of all orders of government to work together. The result is what we see here today, coming together to rapidly create up to 91 units of permanent, supportive housing units for residents of Southern Vancouver Island. This is the National Housing Strategy at work!” – Ken Hardie, Member of Parliament for Fleetwood–Port Kells

“There is a critical need for more opportunities for those living unhoused and requiring support services to begin to be connected to long-term housing options. Today’s announcement is another important step in taking a collaborative approach and working together to build a vibrant region consisting of safe, healthy and inclusive communities for everyone.” – Colin Plant, Chair of the Capital Regional District

Quick facts:

  • Under the Major Cities Stream of funding, $500 million is allocated to pre-identified municipalities with the highest levels of renters in severe housing need and people experiencing homelessness. Municipalities can flow funds through a third-party (including a provincial or territorial government).
  • Under the Projects Stream $500 million was available through an application-based process, which closed on December 31, 2020. Funding was available to Provinces, Territories, and Municipalities, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, and non-profit organizations.
  • 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 domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2+, racialized groups, Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.
  • The federal and provincial governments recently announced the Canada - British Columbia Housing Benefit (CA-BC HB), a 10-year, $517 million investment that will support more than 25,000 households across B.C. This builds on the Canada – British Columbia Bilateral Agreement, a 10-year agreement announced in June 2018 which represents a joint investment of more than $990 million that will provide long-term, predictable funding to protect, renew and expand social and community housing, and support British Columbia’s priorities related to housing repair, construction, and affordability. 
  • The National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $70+ billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home—this includes more than $12 billion committed through the 2020 Fall Economic Statement.  
  • The 2020 Fall Economic Statement proposes to increase the lending capacity of the existing National Housing Strategy’s Rental Construction Financing Initiative by an additional $12 billion over seven years. This new funding will enable CMHC to support the construction of an additional 28,500 purpose-built rental housing units across Canada.
  • With a budget of $13.2 billion, the National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF) gives priority to projects that help those in greatest need, including women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addictions, Veterans and young adults. Through the NHCF, the Government of Canada will work with partners to build up to 60,000 new affordable homes and repair up to 240,000 existing affordable and community homes over the next 10 years.
  • Since 2017, the B.C. government has taken steps to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes, including the largest investment in housing affordability in B.C.'s history – $7 billion over 10 years.
  • Through a 30-point housing plan launched in 2018, the provincial government is working with partners to deliver 114,000 affordable homes over 10 years. The plan has also introduced new measures aimed at curbing speculative demand that has driven up the cost of living.

Associated links:

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.

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Media contacts:

Mikaela Harrison
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Mikaela.Harrison@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

Leonard Catling
Media Relations
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
lcatling@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing
Media Relations
778 678-1572

BC Housing
Media Relations
media@bchousing.org