On November 22, 2017, the federal government released the details of its 10-year, $40 billion National Housing Strategy (NHS). The NHS commits to:
- Building up to 100,000 new affordable housing units.
- Repairing up to 300,000 existing affordable housing units.
- Renewing rent subsidy agreements for 385,000 low-income households in social housing, and expanding these agreements to an additional 50,000 households.
- Introducing a new Canada Housing Benefit, which will provide 300,000 low-income households with an average of $2,500 per year to help them maintain their housing.
- Enshrining the NHS in legislation using a human rights-based approach.
- Transferring $200 million of federal lands to housing providers on condition that they meet environmental, socioeconomic and affordability standards.
- Creating a $15.9 billion National Housing Co-Investment Fund to build or repair housing with at least:
- 20 per cent accessible or universally-designed units.
- 25 per cent improved energy-efficiency.
- 20-year commitment to affordability.
Most of the funding for the NHS was already announced in the 2017 budget and will therefore not have any impact on the federal government's fiscal plan. The exception is the $4 billion Canada Housing Benefit, which will begin in April 2020 and conclude in 2028. Half of the $4 billion will come from the provinces and territories, with the other half coming from the federal government.
Many elements of the NHS align with AUMA’s recommendations, including targeting vulnerable groups and focusing on prevention. At least 25 per cent of NHS investments will support projects that meet the unique needs of women and girls, particularly those fleeing violence, with additional funding targeted to seniors, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans, and young adults. The NHS also commits the Government of Canada to fund and continue the significant work currently underway to co-develop distinctions-based housing strategies for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation partners.
It is not yet known how municipalities will be engaged in the rollout of funding, but AUMA will continue to monitor this issue and keep our members informed.