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Canada supports rapid housing projects in Saskatoon

Press Release

December 3, 2021

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 government is building stronger communities, creating jobs, and growing our middle class, while fighting homelessness and helping vulnerable Canadians.

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Marv Friesen, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saskatoon Riversdale, , and Charlie Clark, Mayor of Saskatoon, today announced $7.5 million to create an estimated of 32 new affordable homes for individuals and families in Saskatoon through the Cities Stream under expanded Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). These housing units 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 building for Cress Housing Corporation will be located at 115 Columbian Place and the building for Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. will be located at 1520 19th Street West. All 32 units will be targeted at Indigenous People and of those units, 9 will be for Indigenous women and their children. For both projects, substantial completion of construction is expected by Fall 2022.

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.

Quotes:

“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 nearly 32 new affordable homes for vulnerable individuals and families in Saskatoon to keep them safe. This is one of the ways our National Housing Strategy continues to ensure no one is left behind.”

— The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

“The Government of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Housing Corporation are proud to support the important work of Cress Housing Corporation and Central Urban Metis Federation Inc. through the Saskatchewan Co-Investment Program. This investment will develop a total of 32 new housing units in Saskatoon and will provide more affordable housing options for individuals and families in need. This is an important step towards achieving our goals in the Provincial Housing Strategy to support those in greatest housing need.”

— The Honourable Lori Carr, Saskatchewan Minister of Social Services and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation

“Everyone deserves a roof over their head and a safe place to call home. Today’s announcement of additional funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative will have a huge impact on our most vulnerable citizens who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of being homeless. The availability of affordable housing is scarce in our region. These new homes will make a difference in ending the cycle of homelessness. I would like to thank the federal government for their ongoing support and commitment to creating affordable housing for our most vulnerable individuals and families.”

— George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview

“It has become clear that one of the biggest gaps in the housing continuum in Saskatoon is supportive housing. People struggling with trauma, addictions and mental health need to have safe and stable housing. These two Rapid Housing Initiative Projects will play a crucial role in helping fill this gap in our community. Thank you to the Federal Government for the funding support and to City staff, SaskHousing and partners for your hard work facilitating this application process.”

— Charlie Clark, Mayor of Saskatoon

“We plan for a two-storey, 18-unit facility that will serve single males who are disproportionately represented in the homeless population. This supported living facility includes a family/cultural space, along with office and meeting spaces on the main level. STC and our member Chiefs are proud to have Cress Housing Corporation serve as a proponent of this project contributing to this important work that improves the quality of life for people.”

— Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand, Cress Housing Corporation

“We are very pleased to be participating in the Rapid Housing Initiative. With this funding, CUMFI will be able to provide fourteen suites for families at risk of homelessness, with nine homes specifically for Indigenous women and children. By providing a supportive living environment, CUMFI’s goal is for families to have a roof over their head and food on the table, so they can begin to think about education, employment and feeling that they are part of a caring community.”

— Shirley Isbister, President of Central Urban Métis Federation Inc.

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.
  • 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 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 has been 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, this summer CMHC introduced new flexibilities to the RHI:
    • Program applicants were eligible to receive funding for additional forms of new construction beyond modular, if units can be built within 12 months.
    • Non-profits had the opportunity to demonstrate that they have the financial capacity to support the viability of units without government subsidy (self-funded).
    • Cities were provided a longer time to submit projects (60 days instead of 30).
    • Project delivery timelines were 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:

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. CMHC’s aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford, and that meets their needs. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

For information on this release:

Mikaela Harrison
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion
[email protected]

Media Relations
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
[email protected]

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