Affordable housing is often key to resilient economic recovery in communities, so there’s $600 million for it in Canada’s new budget

On April 26, 2021 the Government of Canada announced that the key objective of their Budget 2021 is to ensure a robust, inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

Titled “A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience“, Budget 2021 allocates—over the next seven years, starting in 2021-22—$600 million dollars for the renewal and expansion of the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund. This is smart, since affordable housing is often a key tactic of any community revitalization strategy, as described in the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity.

The COVID-19 recession is the steepest and fastest economic contraction since the Great Depression. It has disproportionately affected low-wage workers, young people, women, and racialized Canadians. For businesses, it has been a two-speed recession, with some finding ways to prosper and grow, but many businesses—especially small businesses—fighting to survive.

Our Government believes that families should be able to live, grow and work in a neighbourhood that meets their needs, and have the stability and opportunities that allow them them to succeed. Innovation is key to making that happen. With today’s announcement, it is clear that our government will continue to support innovation and growth in our communities with the help of partners across all sectors,” said Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre.

Budget 2021 is an investment to address the specific wounds of the COVID-19 recession, put people first, create jobs, grow the middle class, set businesses on a track for long-term growth, and ensure that Canada’s future will be healthier, more equitable, greener, and more prosperous.

To date, this program has committed funding to support the creation of over 17,600 units, most units being affordable and for persons with accessibility challenges. For instance, 2000 of these units have been committed to families in Victoria, as well as over 5000 in the Lower Mainland of BC.

This new funding will support the creation of up to 12,700 additional units, bringing the total across the country to over 30,000 Canadians receiving support through the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund.

Funded by the Government of Canada and delivered through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, this Fund is an initiative of the National Housing Strategy and encourages new funding models and innovative building techniques in the affordable housing sector.

Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. The Affordable Housing Innovation Fund has proven to be an effective way to provide clever, novel, and thoughtful solutions to housing. With renewed resources through Budget 2021, our Government will continue to build partnerships with private sector, developers, municipalities, and the non-profit sector to push boundaries and create affordable homes that meet the needs of Canadians, from coast to coast to coast,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Budget 2021 is a plan to bridge Canadians and Canadian businesses through the crisis and towards a robust recovery. It proposes to extend business and income support measures through to the fall and to make investments to create jobs and help businesses across the economy come roaring back.

The budget will support almost 500,000 new training and work opportunities including 215,000 opportunities for youth; support businesses in our most affected sectors such as tourism and arts and culture; and accelerate investment and digital transformation at small and medium-sized businesses. Budget 2021 is a plan that puts Canada on track to meet its commitment to create 1 million jobs by the end of the year.

Fortunately, Canada entered the COVID-19 economic crisis in a strong fiscal position. This allowed the government to take quick and decisive action, supporting people and businesses, and put it in the position to make historic investments in the recovery.

2008 photo of Victoria, BC is by Storm Cunningham.

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