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FCHI-2 Rental Assistance Update for federal co-ops

Published January 22, 2020

The Federal Community Housing Initiative Phase 2 (FCHI-2), is a new rental assistance program set to begin April 1, 2020 for housing co-ops with federally administered agreements in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, and PEI reaching the end of their operating agreements. Enrollment for this program begins six months before the end of a co-op’s operating agreement.

Opt in process

The Agency for Co-operative Housing has confirmed that all co-ops with March 2020 agreement end dates have responded to CMHC during the opt-in/opt-out process. Thanks to all the many co-ops that responded in a timely manner. However, a large number of these co-ops had incomplete or incorrect forms, and CMHC followed up between January 6 – 15, 2020 to complete the forms. The information co-ops provided in the opt-in forms are the basis of determining the amount of assistance CMHC will provide, so it is important for co-ops to provide all the information requested.

Program details

Beyond the opt-in process, we understand there are still many questions that remain unanswered by CMHC about the program details. CMHC continues to say they are committed to have the program begin April 1, 2020. CMHC plans training sessions on the new program and agreement in February.

We understand this program will work similar to the Section 95 program, in that co-ops will receive a fixed sum each month for income-tested assistance. This enables the co-op to reduce the housing charges of eligible members to a given percentage of their household income. This will require a new agreement between the co-op and CMHC for the duration of the rental assistance program, until 2028.

The Agency will be administering the program on behalf of CMHC for eligible co-ops in BC, Alberta, Ontario, and PEI.

CHF Canada continues to seek clarification and full program information to be shared with co-ops as soon as possible. We know that co-ops require time to process the new agreement in order to make the best decisions for their community.

CHF Canada is being persistent in our efforts to keep CMHC and the Liberal government accountable to their promise of a seamless transition. Stable rent assistance programs are important to the everyday lives of vulnerable households, and are key to the health of the whole co-op housing community. We will continue to communicate this to CMHC, so our members’ interests remain central to this new program.

Stay tuned for more

We will continue to share information to members through eNews as we receive it from CMHC. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact Courtney Lockhart, CHF Canada’s Program Manager, Policy & Government Relations at clockhart@chfcanada.coop

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