Canada: The federal government released a budget focused on economic recovery and a commitment to expand the Federal Community Housing Initiative, which provides rental assistance for low-income households living in federally administered co-op and non-profit housing. The budget further aims to expand the Rapid Housing Initiative and the Reaching Home program, both targeted to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Tina Stevens, president of the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF) said in a statement: “The Federal Community Housing Initiative is a lifeline for low-income households living in co-op and non-profit housing in many communities. This expansion of the Initiative will ensure that more low-income households in federally administered co-op and non-profit housing can live affordably, bringing needed housing stability and security to those households, and the co-op and non-profit communities in which they live.”
The budget includes CA$101.4bn over three years in proposed investments with the aim of creating jobs and supporting a resilient and inclusive recovery.
This includes a pledge of $4.4bn on a cash basis over five years to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to help homeowners and landlords complete deep home retrofits through interest-free loans worth up to $40,000. This programme will also include a dedicated stream of funding to support low-income homeowners and rental properties serving low-income renters including housing co-operatives.
CHF Canada’s executive director, Tim Ross stated: “We must do everything we can to end homelessness. But we must also invest in the prevention of homelessness through growing the stock of affordable housing, including co-ops.”
The budget will also provide $100m in 2021-22 to the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative at Employment and Social Development Canada. The programme backs capacity-building of black-led non-profit organisations, including Black Wellness Cooperative of Nova Scotia, which provides expertise, knowledge, and training to promote health, wellness, and fitness among the African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq communities.