Surrey, British Columbia — Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for affordable housing and led to rising levels of homelessness. The Government of Canada created a national strategy to build hundreds of thousands of units and provide affordable housing to people across the country. By continuing to make investments in affordable housing, the government is building stronger communities, creating jobs, and growing our middle class, while fighting homelessness and helping vulnerable Canadians.
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Randeep Sarai, Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre, and Doug McCallum, Mayor of Surrey, today announced $13.8 million to create an estimated 28 new affordable homes for individuals and families in Surrey through the Cities Stream under expanded Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). These housing units will support Canadians who are in uncertain housing situations, experiencing or at risk of homelessness, or living in temporary shelters because of the pandemic.
This is in addition to the Government of Canada’s previous investment of $16.4 million through the first phase of the Rapid Housing Initiative to support the creation of 44 housing units in Surrey.
In its initial round, with funding of $1 billion announced in October 2020, the RHI exceeded its original target of 3,000 permanent affordable housing units and achieved 4,700 units nationally. Due to this success, an additional $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) was recently announced to create 4,500 new units of permanent affordable housing across the country. Thanks to this expansion, this initiative will now create over 9,200 affordable homes for the most vulnerable Canadians across the country.
This new investment will create thousands of good jobs in the housing and construction sector, grow the middle class, and build back stronger communities, while getting us closer to our goal of eliminating chronic homelessness in Canada
“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Today’s funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative will go a long way to support those who need it most by quickly providing nearly 28 new affordable homes for vulnerable individuals and families in Surrey to keep them safe. This is one of the ways our National Housing Strategy continues to ensure no one is left behind.” – The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
“We have seen how COVID-19 has worsened existing housing and homelessness challenges and without urgent action by the Government of Canada, the pandemic could lead to a dramatic increase in homelessness. Creating housing rapidly to address this housing crisis is a priority for our Government. This new funding is part of our commitment to addressing severe housing needs across the country. It will provide immediate support to create safe and stable housing to thousands of vulnerable individuals and families.” – Randeep Sarai, Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre
“Everyone deserves a roof over their head and a safe place to call home. Today’s announcement of additional funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative will have a huge impact on our most vulnerable citizens who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of being homeless. The availability of affordable housing is scarce in our region. These new homes will make a difference in ending the cycle of homelessness. I would like to thank the federal government for their ongoing support and commitment to creating affordable housing for our most vulnerable individuals and families.” – Doug McCallum, Mayor of Surrey
- The RHI is delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), under the National Housing Strategy (NHS).
- Canada’s NHS is an ambitious, 10-year plan that will invest over $72 billion to give more Canadians a place to call home. Launched in 2017, the NHS will build and repair thousands of housing units, and help households with affordability support.
- The RHI is a $1 billion program launched in October 2020 to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, especially in the context of COVID-19, through the rapid construction of affordable housing.
- Due to this success, an additional $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) was recently announced through Budget 2021 with $500 million in funding under the Cities Stream being allocatedto the following municipalities: Burnaby, Calgary, Capital Regional District, Durham, Edmonton, Gatineau, Greater Sudbury, Halifax, Hamilton, Iqaluit, Kingston, Laval, London, Longueil, Montreal, Niagara, Ottawa, Peel, Quebec, Regina, Saskatoon, Surrey, St. John’s, Toronto, Vancouver, Waterloo, Whitehorse, Windsor, Winnipeg, and Yellowknife Under the Projects Stream: $1 billion will be allocated to eligible applications submitted during the RHI’s initial application period last fall and having not yet received funding.
- Based on feedback from stakeholders, CMHC has introduced new flexibilities to the RHI:
o Program applicants will be eligible to receive funding for additional forms of new construction beyond modular, if units can be built within 12 months.
o Non-profits will now have an opportunity to demonstrate that they have the financial capacity to support the viability of units without government subsidy (self-funded).
o Cities will have a longer time to submit projects (60 days instead of 30).
o Project delivery timelines have been adjusted for projects located in the North and special access communities.
- At least 25 per cent of this new funding will go toward women-focused housing projects. The units will be built within 12 months of when funding is provided to program applicants.
- The RHI will continue to prioritize proposals that target units serving Indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups. It will also continue to provide flexibilities on timelines to Indigenous governing bodies or organizations as needed.
- Due to the considerable response during the first round of the Projects Stream, many eligible applications remain unfunded. Applicants with eligible proposals from the first round of RHI that have not yet received funding will be contacted directly with further details.
- The RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and other vulnerable people under the NHS, including: women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people experiencing mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2 individuals, racialized and Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.
- CMHC supports the government’s efforts to improve the well-being of Canadians facing housing and homelessness challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.