Since launching in October 2020, the $1 billion Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) has exceeded its initial target of creating up to 3,000 new affordable homes for vulnerable Canadians, according to the latest update from the federal government.
“The Rapid Housing Initiative is perhaps the boldest move in a generation to end chronic homelessness,” said Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing). “It not only finds permanent shelter for people in need, but it is a crucial public health measure to keep individuals and communities safe during the pandemic, while also saving cities and communities across Canada money as we work together to provide safe, secure and affordable housing in precarious environments. There is more to do, and there is more to come.”
Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a harsh spotlight on the affordable housing crisis as thousands of Canadians lost their jobs or experienced income loss due to emergency restrictions. RHI will now support the construction of more than 4,700 permanent affordable units for Canadian families, including 1,806 units for Indigenous peoples, from coast to coast to coast.
Through its Projects Stream, the RHI will provide $500 million in funding for 179 priority projects. These projects will help quickly build 2,951 safe and affordable new homes for vulnerable populations across Canada.
Under the Major Cities Stream, $500 million was immediately provided to municipalities with the most severe housing needs and the highest rates of homelessness. Investments made under the RHI are expected to support thousands of construction-related jobs for Canadians as the pandemic surges on.
“Our government wants to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home,” said the Hon Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for CMHC. “The Rapid Housing Initiative will go a long way to supporting those who need it most by quickly providing 4,777 new affordable housing units to vulnerable individuals and families to keep them safe.
Delivered by CMHC, RHI provides capital contributions to develop new, permanent affordable housing by covering costs associated with modular multi-unit rental construction; conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential homes; and, rehabilitation of buildings in disrepair and/or abandoned to affordable multi-residential homes.
As of today, The RHI has exceeded its initial target by 1,777 units thanks to the support of the provincial, territorial and municipal governments as well as Indigenous governing bodies. The RHI has received significant interest from Indigenous groups, which resulted in nearly 40 per cent of all units created under the program to be targeted to Indigenous peoples.
To find out more about the application process, click here: Rapid Housing Initiative (cmhc-schl.gc.ca)