BACKGROUNDER: Canada’s National Housing Strategy


Canada’s National Housing Strategy

The National Housing Strategy is a part of a long-term vision to strengthen the middle class, promote sustainable growth for Canadians, and lift more Canadians out of poverty.

The Strategy – funded through new and existing programs – follows a human rights-based approach, and includes a National Housing Co-Investment Fund, community housing initiatives, and the Canada Housing Benefit.

A human rights-based approach to housing

Canadians deserve safe and affordable housing.

The National Housing Strategy will help address a range of housing needs, from shelters and community housing, to affordable rental and homeownership. It will promote:

  • Accountability
    • New legislation that promotes a human rights-based approach to housing and prioritizes the housing needs of Canada’s most vulnerable
    • A federal housing advocate to advise and identify actions to address systemic barriers faced by vulnerable groups
  • Participation and inclusion
    • A National Housing Council with a diverse membership that will provide advice to  CMHC and the responsible Minister
    • A Community-Based Tenant Initiative that will support grassroots organizations by providing information and resources to tenants facing barriers in accessing community and affordable housing
    • A public engagement campaign to highlight the benefits of inclusive communities and housing to begin in 2020

National Housing Co-Investment Fund

The National Housing Co-Investment Fund will provide $15.9 billion – including $4.7 billion in contributions and $11.2 billion in low interest loans – to repair existing rental housing and develop new affordable housing. The Fund is expected to create up to 60,000 new homes and repair up to 240,000 existing community homes.

The Fund will involve partnerships with – and investments from – the provinces and territories, municipalities, non-profits, co-operatives, and the private-sector. It will provide:

·         More shelter spaces for survivors of violence

·         Transitional and supportive housing for those in need

·         New and repaired affordable and community housing

·         Help to make homeownership more affordable for modest income earners

The Fund will also support Canada’s climate change goals, promote technologies that decrease the impact of housing on the environment, and improve the accessibility of housing for people with disabilities.

To encourage the development of sustainable, accessible, mixed-income, and mixed-use developments and to maximize the impact of this Fund, the Government of Canada will transfer up to $200 million in federal lands to housing providers. Funding will also be provided for environmental remediation, renovations, or retrofits to ensure surplus federal buildings are suitable for use as housing.

Canada Housing Benefit

The federal government will invite provinces and territories to partner on a jointly funded $4-billion Canada Housing Benefit.

To be launched in 2020, the Canada Housing Benefit will provide affordability support directly to families and individuals in housing need, including those currently living in social housing, those on a social housing wait-list and those housed in the private market but struggling to make ends meet.

The Government estimates that the Canada Housing Benefit will deliver an average of $2,500 per year to each recipient household. Over time, the Canada Housing Benefit will grow to support at least 300,000 households across the country.

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