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Housing co-ops welcome National Housing Strategy

Published November 22, 2017

Today, the National Housing Strategy was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister Responsible for CMHC Jean-Yves Duclos at events in Toronto and Vancouver.

In its news release, CHF Canada welcomed the Strategy which includes provisions to protect low-income members of housing co-operatives and to build new affordable housing for Canadians in need.

After a decade of work by CHF Canada and housing co-ops across the country, we can breathe a little easier knowing that 20,000 low-income households have a home for years to come.

CHF Canada’s number one priority has been to protect low-income co-op households. Over the last two years, we have been in continuous talks with the Minister Duclos and his staff; and we have had over a hundred meetings with Members of Parliament from across the country to articulate the need for a solution to keep vulnerable members in their homes.

A successful solution for low-income members had to meet three criteria:

  • Does it feature the same breadth and depth of support as currently exists? Does it provide support to the same number of people and is it providing the same amount of housing assistance?
  • Will it be implemented in a timely and seamless manner? Will there be a gap period between the end of their co-op’s operating agreement and the start of a new program or will low-income members receive uninterrupted support?
  • Is this a long-term solution? We have advocated for 10-years of assistance to low-income households.

The Strategy meets the following criteria:

  • The Strategy is set to assist the same number of households as are currently assisted today.
  • Low-income households will receive uninterrupted support through the duration of the Strategy
  • Funding for the National Housing Strategy has been budgeted through 2028.

Our sector is ready to pivot from ‘protect’ to ‘grow’. Through the National Housing Strategy, the federal government has provided some tools by which we can do that:

  • The Strategy will include tools for the construction of 100,000 new units with an affordability component.
  • The federal government will support the expansion of community housing, with a target of building 50,000 new units.
  • New grants and loans will be made available to finance new construction.
  • Surplus government land will be made available for the creation of new affordable housing.
  • Co-ops will be able to pre-pay their high-interest CMHC-held mortgages while fully protecting housing assistance for low-income members. This will help co-ops, including Section 61 program co-ops, to facilitate asset repair and renewal as well as the construction of new units through new financing at more reasonable rates of interest.

Growth and co-op autonomy have both been part of our advocacy efforts to government. Housing co-ops collectively own over $5.6 billion in assets and are well-positioned to create new supply. Our sector is embracing growth to meet the changing needs of co-op members and to provide new members with an affordable place to call home.

The Strategy provides our sector with welcome relief to protect the homes we have, and tools to usher in a new era of co-op housing growth in Canada.

More to come.

For further information, please contact Program Manager, Policy and Government Relations Douglas Wong at dwong@chfcanada.coop or 1-800-465-2752 x245.

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