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Budget 2015 Opens Door to New Support for Low-Income Households, Helps Housing Co-ops Make Repairs

April 22, 2015 (Ottawa) – Budget 2015 provides a window through which new rent supplements for low-income households living in Canada’s housing co‑operatives could be made available.

“The Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada and its 900 member housing co‑ops warmly welcome the commitment included in Budget 2015 to continue to invest in existing social housing, including co‑op housing,” said CHF Canada Executive Director Nicholas Gazzard. “This budget commits to an annual investment of $1.7 billion for the next four years, despite the decline that had been scheduled. While the budget is silent on how these funds will be used, we are hopeful that rent supplements for low-income households in co‑ops could be made available. We will be working closely with federal officials to understand the specifics behind this important commitment in the coming days.”

More than 62,000 households across the country live in mixed-income housing co‑ops developed through federal programs. Of those, more than 21,000 have low-incomes and pay an affordable rent because of federal agreements and the funding that comes with them. They are seniors, new Canadians, persons with mental and physical disabilities, Aboriginal people, and lone-parent families.

Budget 2015 will also enable more of Canada’s housing co‑operatives to access to private sector financing to renew and renovate their properties, starting April 1, 2016. Section 61 housing co‑ops , which provide homes to 7,700 households across the country, will now be able to prepay their CMHC mortgages without incurring penalties and arrange new, private sector loans. These new mortgages will enable housing co‑ops to access private sector refinancing to undertake needed repairs, retrofits and modernization. “This is very good news. The elimination of prepayment fees will make a real difference to housing co‑ops, and the low-income households who make housing co‑ops their home in communities across the country” said Gazzard.

This commitment builds on a 2013 refinancing initiative for Section 95 housing co‑ops , through which more than $30 million dollars in new private sector investment has already been injected into Canada’s housing co‑ops, creating high-value jobs in the process.

For more information:

Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director, 613.230.2201 ext. 230, ngazzard@chfcanada.coop

Scott Jackson, Program Manager, National Communications, 1-877-533-2667 ext. 122, sjackson@chfcanada.coop