2021 Federal Budget Highlights
Published April 21, 2021
Yesterday, the federal government released their budget focused on economic recovery, which includes an ambitious plan for national childcare. Although not a housing-specific policy, a Canada-wide childcare system will have a positive impact on CHF Canada members and communities. Congratulations to childcare advocates on seeing this through.
Thanks to the success of the “You Hold the Key” campaign, we are excited to see $118.2 million in the budget to expand the Federal Community Housing Initiative (FCHI) over the next seven years. We believe this will mean federally administered co-op and non-profit housing providers left out of FCHI will have access to the program to support low-income members over the next seven years. We will work with Minister Hussen and CMHC to confirm the details and develop a smooth transition in ensuring all federally administered co-ops and non-profits have access to FCHI.
The federal government has also announced some significant measures in support of their goal to end chronic homelessness:
- $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative to deliver at least 4,500 units of supportive and affordable housing for those experiencing and at risk of homelessness, with 25% going toward women-focused projects; and
- $567 million over two years for the existing Reaching Home program which supports communities to address homelessness, and $45 million over two years for a pilot program to reduce veteran homelessness through rent supplements and wrap-around services.
CHF Canada welcomes these measures to help eliminate homelessness. However, without dedicated investment to prevent homelessness through the provision of affordable housing, the pathway into homelessness will be relentless. We will continue to call for new and significant investment to support the development of non-market housing, especially the construction and acquisition of co-op housing.
Notably absent from the budget was a specific commitment to develop an urban, rural and northern Indigenous Housing Strategy. Indigenous households disproportionately live in unaffordable, unsafe and overcrowded housing. A dedicated strategy is required to address these specific needs. We will continue to work with our partners to press for this essential commitment.
Other housing-specific commitments in the budget are listed below. We will be pressing officials in the coming weeks to learn more about how they may be able to support co-op housing:
- $4.4 billion over five years for CMHC to develop an energy retrofit program for housing, including a stream for low-income homeowners and low-income renters, including those living in co-ops and non-profits;
- $600 million to the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund;
- $300 million to convert empty office spaces to affordable housing;
- $25 million each to the Governments of Nunavut and Northwest Territories for housing projects; and
- Expediting $1 billion worth of already announced funding under the Co-Investment Fund, which is intended to support the repair and construction of affordable housing.
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