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Canada announces support for rapid housing in Waterloo Region
Waterloo Region - Everyone in Canada deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. However, the pandemic has increased the need for affordable housing. The Government of Canada created a national strategy to build and renovate hundreds of thousands of units and provide affordable housing to people across the country. By continuing to make investments in affordable housing, the government is building stronger communities, creating jobs, and growing our middle class, while fighting homelessness and helping Canadians who are vulnerable.
Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), today announced a federal investment of $7.1 million create an estimated 74 new, affordable homes in the Waterloo Region.
From the total funding, $4.5 million is invested through the Major Cities Stream under the expanded Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). The remaining $2.6 million is provided through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy program.
The housing units are a part of two projects, and will support Canadians who are in uncertain housing situations, experiencing or at risk of homelessness, or living in temporary shelters because of the pandemic.
The first project, managed by KW Urban Native Wigwam Project, will be located at 27 - 31 Cambridge Street in Cambridge. All 30 units will be created for Indigenous People and of those units, 16 will be for Indigenous women and their children.
The second building will be administrated by OneROOF and will be located at 35 Sheldon Avenue N. in Kitchener. The project will create an estimated 44 units including 25 units for homeless people, 15 units for people with mental health or addiction issues and 4 units for Indigenous People.
“The City of Kitchener is committed to housing as a human right, and to doing our part by working with all orders of government and community partners to deliver on that. We are grateful to Minister Ahmed Hussen and the Government of Canada through CMHC, for today’s funding announcement in support of oneROOF and at-risk youth in our community to build 44 additional housing units through the Rapid Housing Initiative and the Reaching Home program. We know that only by working together can we get closer to our goal of ending homelessness and supporting, regardless of age, the most vulnerable residents amongst us,” said Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of the City of Kitchener.
The City of Kitchener’s Housing For All strategy specifically identifies the development of oneROOF supportive housing. The City has previously approved grants and fee exemptions of over $50,000, deferred development charges of almost $290,000, and other financial support to secure land for oneROOF’s new development at 35 Sheldon Ave. N. Today’s announcement will support Canadians who are in uncertain housing situations, experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, or living in temporary shelters.
“Over the last two years of the pandemic, the need for housing supports has grown for all ages, including among our community’s most vulnerable youth,” added Ward 10 Councillor Sarah Marsh, whose ward the proposed project will be located in. “The team at oneROOF has had a long history supporting at-risk youth, and I am pleased to see this important and deserving investment being made,” said Marsh.
Substantial construction completion of both projects is expected by the end of 2022.
Today’s funding builds on the recently announced $6.6 million invested through RHI in the Waterloo Region just last month.
- The Rapid Housing Initiative is delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), under the National Housing Strategy (NHS).
- The RHI is a $1 billion program that was initially 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.
- The first phase of the RHI was successful, and $1.5 billion was added to the program in Budget 2021. This investment is divided into two streams:
- The Cities Stream: $500 million in funding to municipalities across Canada.
- 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.
- 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 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.
The Regional Chair and following MPs also shared in the announcment: the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Member of Parliament for Waterloo, Bryan May, Member of Parliament for Cambridge, Valerie Bradford, Member of Parliament for Kitchener South – Hespeler,, Tim Louis, Member of Parliament for Kitchener – Conestoga, Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of the City of Kitchener, Kathryn McGarry, Mayor of the City of Cambridge and Chair Karen Redman, Regional Chair of the Waterloo Region.