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Federal advocacy update: new federal announcements for housing and co-ops

Published April 30, 2024

In recent weeks, the federal government has made a series of housing announcements as part of a new housing plan and a housing-focused 2024 federal budget.

The good news is the federal government acknowledges the role of co-op housing in solving the housing crisis and made new announcements that will support co-op housing development.

While these are welcome announcements, the federal government must move quickly from commitment to implementation. 

Read more below to get caught up on recent announcements, CHF Canada’s advocacy and how the co-op housing sector has been responding.

Co-ops included in new federal housing plan 

The federal government unveiled a new housing plan in advance of the release of the 2024 budget. The housing plan reiterated the government’s commitment to build new co-op homes through the $1.5 billion Co-operative Housing Development Program, first committed to in the 2022 budget. The plan highlighted how co-op and non-profit housing was part of the supply response to the housing crisis that came out of the Second World War.

CHF Canada has been advocating for the Co-operative Development Program to launch without delay so we can get building new homes now. Just as was done after the Second World War, governments can invest in building thousands of new affordable co-op homes to address the housing crisis. Read CHF Canada’s reaction to the new federal housing plan.

Budget 2024 announces a new Rental Protection Fund 

The new housing plan included a new $1.5 billion fund to help non-profits and co-ops purchase rental buildings. We’ve seen how impactful programs like BC’s Rental Protection Fund have been in preserving existing affordable homes.

This was a big win for the community housing sector: CHF Canada and other community housing partners had been calling for a national fund to protect existing affordable homes and move them into community ownership.

Canada is rapidly losing existing affordable homes and this program will help to keep some permanently affordable. We look forward to working with the federal government to roll out this program. The community housing sector – including co-ops – has valuable expertise to help this program be as effective as possible.

Other key highlights in Budget 2024

The budget also included other investments that we hope will help build new co-ops and support existing co-op communities, including a new program to make government land available for affordable housing construction and a new Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program that will support energy efficiency retrofits for affordable housing providers.

In our budget advocacy, we called on the federal government to stabilize rental assistance programs. Currently, existing federal rental assistance programs are set to expire in 2028. These low-cost, high-impact programs are what enables co-op housing to be mixed-income, while keeping the buildings in good working order. The federal government needs to commit to rental assistance beyond 2028 to give households and co-ops essential security. Read more in our Budget 2024 statement.

The need to move swiftly from commitments to action

This budget and the federal housing plan make important new commitments – but the government needs to move quickly from commitment to implementation. This includes augmenting and following through on commitments to support Indigenous-led housing solutions, including fully funding the Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy.

We will continue to advocate for the Co-operative Housing Development Program to be launched so we can get building the next generation of co-op homes.

You can take action and email the Minister of Housing to call for the launch of the Co-operative Housing Development Program. Co-ops can also send in a resolution passed by their Board.

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