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June 18, 2020, 5:31 pm

Regional Housing First Program Partners Announce Additional Matching Contributions in Captial Region

Capital Regional District
VICTORIA - The program partners of the Regional Housing First Program (RHFP) have reached agreement to extend the program by contributing additional matching grants of $10 million each, for a total of $120 million, to ensure the program reaches its target number of homes for people experiencing chronic homelessness who are ready to live independently with supports.

The RHFP is an equal partnership agreement between the Capital Regional District (CRD), the Government of BC through BC Housing, and the Government of Canada through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and its Affordable Housing Innovation Fund to build homes on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. The program was initiated to create more affordable rental housing and address the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the capital region.

The original goal of the RHFP was to invest $90 million to support the development of mixed-market communities in the capital region, including 400 units to be rented at the provincial income assistance shelter rate ($375/month). Due to unprecedented escalations in construction costs, the program was forecasting a drop in the number of deliverable shelter-rate units to 300. With an additional $30 million, the program will remain on target to achieve its original goal of 400 shelter-rate units of urgently needed affordable housing.

Implementation of the program is already underway, with over 900 units complete or under construction to date. The program is currently on track to have over 1,800 units complete or under construction by December 31, 2022. Approximately 20% of the units will be rented at provincial income assistance rates within projects that will also include at least 31% affordable rental units and up to 49% near market rental units. The program aims to meet a broad range of housing needs while moving at-risk individuals into long-term, tenant-based, supported housing to enable recovery and integration into society.

Confirmation of the CRD’s participation in the RHFP extension was reached earlier this spring by amending Bylaw No. 4326 “Land Assembly, Housing and Land Banking Service Establishment” to remove the limitations to borrowing and Bylaw No. 4327 “Regional Housing First Program Loan Authorization” to authorize the borrowing of an additional $10 million dollars. Approval for the bylaw
was received by unanimous consent from the CRDs 13 municipalities and 3 electoral areas. For more information on Housing First, please visit:
https://www.crd.bc.ca/project/regional-housing-first-program

Quotes:

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister responsible for CMHC. “Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. This new $10 million investment from the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund reaffirms our government’s commitment to partners and the Regional Housing First Program, as work continues during these uncertain times to deliver more affordable housing options to the community.”

Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – “The need for safe, secure and affordable housing has never been clearer. It is critical that these projects move forward and we are making this investment to make sure the units remain affordable for people who need these homes.”

Colin Plant, CRD Board Chair. “Affordable housing is a top priority for the CRD and we are proud to provide continued support for this successful program. Significant momentum is being realized thanks to strong partnerships like this one between our governments. The Regional Housing First Program enables us to create the right mix of affordable housing opportunities that will provide safe, secure homes for a wide range of people in our communities with the right support services in place to help them succeed.”

For media inquiries, please contact:
Monique Booth, Manager
CRD Corporate Communications
Tel: 250.360.3165
Cell: 250.516.1703

 
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