OTTAWA –


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday the federal government will create 17,000 new homes through additional funding for projects including the federal government’s Affordable Housing Innovation Fund’s rent-to-own program and launching the third phase of its Rapid Housing Initiative.


Trudeau’s announcement included funding for three projects totalling $2 billion to create thousands of new units, many of which will be designated affordable units. The $2 billion includes previously-announced funding from the last two federal budgets.


Of the three projects, two fall under the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, which launched in 2016 in an effort to create more affordable housing by partnering with private sector groups, non-profits, community housing groups, Indigenous communities, and various levels of government.


“We know we need to build supply, and find innovative solutions,” Trudeau said.


Speaking in Kitchener, Ont. with Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen.,Trudeau said the federal government plans to create 10,800 new homes — 6,000 of which will be designated affordable units — as part of the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund.


Meanwhile, applications for the fund’s five-year rent-to-own initiative are now open. The project will allow housing providers “interested in developing, testing and scaling innovative rent-to-own models and projects” to apply for government funding.


In addition, Trudeau announced the third phase in the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative to create 4,500 affordable housing units, partly dedicated to women and those at risk of homelessness.


The Rapid Housing Initiative was created in 2020 partly in response to the increased need to house people during the COVID-19 pandemic, Trudeau said. The initiative was designed to facilitate more rapid construction, and the conversion of existing spaces into housing, while specifically targeting the needs of vulnerable populations.


The prime minister said that program has “exceeded expectations,” and the first two phases of it delivered more units than were originally promised.


“Tackling housing affordability is a complex problem and there is no one silver bullet,” Trudeau said. “The fact is, simplistic solutions are simply not going to solve the problem. But announcements like today’s move us all forward and give more people a place to call home, and a real and fair chance of success.”


Trudeau also said it is up to all levels of government to “step up” and find creative solutions, and the responsibility for building affordable housing does not rest solely on the shoulders of the federal government.


“We need all orders of government to step up and find ways to get projects built,” he said. “We want to be your partners in finding ways to remove barriers, accelerate projects and unlock supply.”


NDP housing critic Jenny Kwan wrote in a statement Tuesday the initiatives announced by Trudeau were the result of the Liberal-NDP supply and confidence agreement, and she called on the federal government to do more to help make housing affordable.


“This means pushing to reverse Liberal and Conservative cuts by restoring the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s role in building social and co-op housing,” Kwan wrote. “We will continue to fight for meaningful investments that address the urgent homelessness crisis in communities struggling with encampments. It also means pushing the Liberals to ensure immediate relief to renters who need it and crack down on investors treating housing like a stock market instead of a human right.”

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