14:15 PM

Federal, provincial, municipal governments support rapid housing in Surrey

SURREY - 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 created a national strategy to build hundreds of thousands of units and provide affordable housing to people across the country. By continuing to make investments in affordable housing, the federal, provincial, and municipal governments are working together to building stronger communities, creating jobs, and growing our middle class, while fighting homelessness and helping vulnerable Canadians.

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, along with Doug McCallum, Mayor of Surrey, announced details of a $13.8 million federal allocation to support the creation of 30 new supportive homes for young people in Surrey through the Cities Stream under expanded Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI).

Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley, announced that the B.C. government will support the new housing with annual operating funding. This funding will build off the provincial investments made in Surrey since 2017, which are supporting the construction of nearly 1,500 new homes for a range of people who are struggling to find a place to live.

The project will be operated by the Pacific Community Resource Society (PCRS), will be located at 13102 112A St in Surrey, B.C., and will feature 30 new homes with 24/7 support young people aged 17-24 years, many of whom will be transitioning from government care. All of the housing units will be allocated to vulnerable and homeless youth, with a further breakdown allocation of 25% Indigenous, 25% LGBTQ2+, 25% young women experiencing violence, and 25% newcomer youth. This project features modular construction and will be completed in winter 2022.

This is in addition to the Government of Canada’s previous investment of $16.4 million through the Major Cities Stream of the first phase of the RHI to support the creation of up to 44 new affordable homes in Surrey.

In its initial round, with funding of $1 billion announced in October 2020, the RHI exceeded its original target of 3,000 permanent affordable housing units and achieved 4,700 units nationally. Due to this success, an additional $1.5 billion for the RHI was recently announced to create 4,500 new units of permanent affordable housing across the country. Thanks to this expansion, this initiative will now create over 9,200 affordable homes for the most vulnerable Canadians across the country.

This new investment will create thousands of good 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


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 30 new affordable homes for Surrey’s most vulnerable Youth populations, to keep them safe. This is one of the ways our National Housing Strategy continues to ensure no one is left behind.”

Randeep Sarai, Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre – 

“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. This investment into improving affordable and supportive housing in our city is facilitating real change for our young populations that need it most. These projects are a result of great partnerships, coming together to respond to a grave housing need in Surrey. This is the Rapid Housing Initiative at work.”

Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley –

“Young people in Surrey and across B.C. should never have to worry about finding a safe and secure home. This project is a great example of what we can accomplish when all levels of government work together. A special thank you to the Pacific Community Resource Society for working with us to bring these 30 much-needed new homes to Surrey.”

Sukh Dhaliwal, Member of Parliament for Surrey–Newton –

“Creating housing rapidly to address BC’s housing crisis is a priority for our Government. This funding is part of our commitment to addressing severe housing needs, both here Surrey, and across the country. It will provide immediate support to create safe and stable housing to our most vulnerable populations, including youth.”

Doug McCallum, Mayor of Surrey –

“Today’s announcement will support young people in our community who need a safe and supportive home as they transition into adulthood. Surrey has the largest youth population in the province. This project will ensure that all our young people have the opportunity to thrive. It will deliver on the critical and urgent need for housing for vulnerable youth who are or at risk of being homelessness, including youth who are transitioning out of the government care system. Homelessness is an evolving challenge and real solutions can be found when all levels of government work together.”

Michelle Shaw, Director of Operations Fraser South, Pacific Community Resources Society –

“For over 30 years, PCRS has provided core support services to young people living in Surrey. As one of the largest youth housing providers in BC, we know that ensuring youth, especially those leaving care, have the best start means they have a safe and stable place to live. We are excited to partner with CMHC and the City of Surrey to offer 30 new homes for Surrey’s vulnerable and homeless youth.”

Quick facts:

  • 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.
  • Through provincial investments since 2017, more than 1,700 homes have opened or are underway in Surrey.
  • 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.

Associated links:

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/