The federal government has announced a new Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) to help address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, while simultaneously creating employment in the housing and construction sectors.
Delivered through CMHC, the $1 billion initiative will cover the construction of modular housing, as well as the acquisition of land, and the conversion of existing buildings to affordable housing. The initiative is expected to facilitate the rapid creation of up to 3,000 new affordable housing units across the country while helping support Canada’s economic recovery.
“We know that Canadians experiencing homelessness are at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “That’s why it is so important that we continue to ensure that communities have the resources they need to support those who are experiencing homelessness. I believe this renewed investment in Reaching Home and new funds for supportive housing will go a long way to effectively support those who need it most.”
In addition to this substantial investment in housing, the Government of Canada will provide $236.7 million through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy to help extend and expand the emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This funding is in addition to the $157.5 million announced in April 2020 to help communities address the immediate impacts of the pandemic. This new investment will enable communities to extend the emergency measures that have been successful in reducing the risk of potential outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness, as well as provide them the flexibility to deliver affordable housing solutions.
While the funding profile for the NHS spans a 10-year timeframe, the RHI is a rapid response to emerging pressures from COVID-19. It is expected that all funds will be committed by March 31, 2021. Additional details about this initiative and the application process will be announced shortly.