Canada announces support for rapid housing in Burnaby
Burnaby — Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for affordable housing and led to rising levels of homelessness, the Government of Canada is working hard to support Canadians. Through the National Housing Strategy, the federal Government is working to build hundreds of thousands of units and provide affordable housing to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. By continuing to make investments in affordable housing, the federal, provincial, and municipal governments are working together to build stronger communities, create jobs, and grow the middle class, while fighting homelessness and helping vulnerable Canadians.
Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Terry Beech, Member of Parliament for Burnaby North–Seymour, and Mike Hurley, Mayor of Burnaby, announced details of more than $11 million in federal funding to support the creation of 28 new affordable homes for individuals and families in Burnaby through the Cities Stream under expanded Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). The B.C. government will support the new housing with annual operating funding.
The modular housing project, operated by the Elizabeth Fry Society, will be located at 8305 11th Ave. in Burnaby, and will feature 28 new affordable housing units for women, and especially mothers and their children. Site preparation is expected to begin next summer, with construction to be completed in Fall 2022.
This new investment will create thousands of good middle-class jobs in the housing and construction sector, grow the middle class, and build back stronger communities, while getting us closer to our goal of eliminating chronic homelessness in Canada once and for all.
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion -
“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Today's funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative will go a long way to support those who need it most by quickly providing 28 new affordable homes for Burnaby’s most vulnerable populations. This is just one of the ways our National Housing Strategy continues to ensure no one is left behind.”
Terry Beech, Member of Parliament for Burnaby North–Seymour -
"Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. This investment into improving affordable housing in our city is facilitating real change for those that need it most. These projects are a result of great partnerships, coming together to respond to a grave housing need in Burnaby. This is the Rapid Housing Initiative at work.”
Katrina Chen, MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed -
“Projects like this are critical in addressing the need in Burnaby for affordable housing for women, and especially women and their children. Through our 10-year housing plan, and in partnership with all levels of government and our non-profit partners, we are working hard to make sure women and children have access to safe and secure homes in our community, and throughout the province.”
Mike Hurley, Mayor of Burnaby -
“In Burnaby, our vision is to build a community where everyone can find a home, afford a home and feel at home. Creating 28 new units of housing, specifically for women and women with children, takes us one step closer to achieving that vision. This new development responds to an urgent need in our community, and we’re proud to be partnering with the federal government and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver on this project.”
Shawn Bayes, CEO, Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver (EFry) -
"This project will provide much-needed housing for women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Women, and in particular single mother-led families, are more likely to experience the deepest levels of poverty. EFry will support the women and families who will live here in building stable, healthy lives in this community."
- The RHI is delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), under the National Housing Strategy (NHS).
- Canada’s NHS is an ambitious, 10-year plan that will invest over $72 billion to give more Canadians a place to call home. Launched in 2017, the NHS will build and repair thousands of housing units, and help households with affordability support.
- Since 2017, the B.C. government has been aggressively working to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes, including the largest investment in housing affordability in B.C.'s history.
- Through a $7-billion housing plan launched in 2018, the provincial government is working with partners to deliver 114,000 affordable homes over 10 years. The plan has also introduced new measures aimed at curbing speculative demand that has driven up the cost of living.
- The RHI is a $1 billion program launched in October 2020 to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, especially in the context of COVID-19, through the rapid construction of affordable housing.
- Due to this success, an additional $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) was recently announced through Budget 2021 with $500 million in funding under the Cities Stream being allocated to the following municipalities: Burnaby, Calgary, Capital Regional District, Durham, Edmonton, Gatineau, Greater Sudbury, Halifax, Hamilton, Iqaluit, Kingston, Laval, London, Longueil, Montreal, Niagara, Ottawa, Peel, Quebec, Regina, Saskatoon, Surrey, St. John’s, Toronto, Vancouver, Waterloo, Whitehorse, Windsor, Winnipeg, and Yellowknife. Under the Projects Stream: $1 billion will be allocated to eligible applications submitted during the RHI’s initial application period last fall and having not yet received funding.
- Based on feedback from stakeholders, CMHC has introduced new flexibilities to the RHI:
- Program applicants will be eligible to receive funding for additional forms of new construction beyond modular, if units can be built within 12 months.
- Non-profits will now have an opportunity to demonstrate that they have the financial capacity to support the viability of units without government subsidy (self-funded).
- Cities will have a longer time to submit projects (60 days instead of 30).
- Project delivery timelines have been adjusted for projects located in the North and special access communities.
- At least 25 per cent of this new funding will go toward women-focused housing projects. The units will be built within 12 months of when funding is provided to program applicants.
- The RHI will continue to prioritize proposals that target units serving Indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups. It will also continue to provide flexibilities on timelines to Indigenous governing bodies or organizations as needed.
- The RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and other vulnerable people under the NHS, including: women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people experiencing mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2 individuals, racialized and Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.
- CMHC supports the government’s efforts to improve the well-being of Canadians facing housing and homelessness challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Through provincial investments since 2017, more than 1,900 homes have opened or are underway in Burnaby.
To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/
Office of the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing