The federal government has announced a new investment in Habitat for Humanity Canada to fund new affordable housing construction and repair existing stock nationwide.
A financial commitment of $32.4 million over three years (from 2019 to 2021) will be provided to Habitat for Humanity Canada and its affiliate organizations nationwide.
According to the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, this investment is the next step in the construction of 125,000 new housing units to serve the needs of 530,000 families as part of the National Housing Strategy.
For the first year, the commitment will fund projects in nine provinces and one territory, the federal government added.
A notable example will be the endowment of up to $3,183,250 to Habitat for Humanity Peterborough. The sum is earmarked for the organization’s largest multi-residential structure so far in the city.
“The demand for housing in Peterborough is extremely high and I am very happy to see the Leahy’s Lane project moving forward. Habitat Peterborough does great work, and this innovative project will have an enormous positive impact for our community,” Peterborough mayor Diane Therrien said.
The lack of affordable housing has been a long-running burden for Canadians, and even more so among immigrants and newcomers.
Tim Richter, president of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, argued that governments at all levels should look into improving affordable housing supply. This holds especially true in the locales where refugees are settling, including Toronto and Montreal.
“Homelessness is a function of housing affordability, availability and income. When you’re new to Canada, you generally won’t have the income to be able to buy a house, and there’s just not enough affordable housing options.”
According to Employment and Social Development Canada, an “observable increase” in refugees using shelters has been recorded from 2005 to 2016.
In 61 communities across the country, around 14% of homeless people identified themselves as newcomers to Canada. As much as 8% said that they were immigrants, while 3% were refugees and 4% were refugee claimants.