Federal government offers $1B to build modular housing and buy hotels for homeless

Sep 22 2020, 9:56 am

The federal government will allocate up to $1 billion towards a new Rapid Housing Initiative that will help fund the cost of creating temporary housing for the homeless across the country.

The program will cover the construction cost of modular structures, and the acquisition of land and existing low-end hotel properties. Funding that supports the cost of over 3,000 new units will be mostly committed to projects by March 2021.

The funding will be made available to provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, as well as non-profit organizations and Indigenous governing bodies.

Eligible projects must have a rapid implementation timeline, and serve individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness and others who are among the most vulnerable

Lately, with the rise in homelessness due to the economic issues of COVID-19, jurisdictions such as British Columbia have increased their own provincial initiatives to build modular housing structures and introduced drastic measures of acquiring hotel properties. There have also been homeless encampments in cities including Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal.

The federal government has been criticized for not providing aid that helps spur the creation of temporary housing.

Additionally, the federal government will provide an additional $236.7 million through its Reaching Home homelessness strategy to help extend and expand the emergency response to COVID-19. This is in addition to the $157.5 million announced in April 2020 to help support communities address the immediate impacts directly related to the pandemic.

“We know that Canadians experiencing homelessness are at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. That’s why it is so important that we continue to ensure that communities have the resources they need to support those who are experiencing homelessness,” said Adam Vaughan, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, in a statement.

“I believe this renewed investment in Reaching Home and new funds for supportive housing will go a long way to effectively support those who need it most.”

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