Liberals roll out social housing funding to keep 55,000 units in system

OTTAWA — Social housing providers reliant on federal funding will receive some short-term financial help starting this week to eventually keep 55,000 units available for low-income families.

The government’s pledge of $38 million over two years from a promised $500 million fund under the national housing strategy buys the Liberals time to set the parameters for how the rest of the money will be spent.

Eligible co-ops had their new agreements mailed this week.

The Liberals hope they can change the way housing providers are funded as their federal operating agreements expire in the coming years and ensure no net loss in the stock of federally administered community housing.

Under the first phase of what the Liberals call the “community housing initiative,” housing providers with operating agreements that will expire before the end of February 2020 won’t see a change in their subsidy until the end of March 2020.

At that point, the Liberals want to move to a new funding scheme to subsidize rents, but plan to consult non-profit and co-operative housing providers about the design of the long-term program.

The announcement marks one of the first program details coming out of the national housing strategy unveiled in November, which aims to build 100,000 new affordable housing units and repair more than 300,000 aging units.

A key policy in the housing strategy was the creation of a new housing supplement that would be tied to a person, not a place. The cost of the portable housing benefit would be $4 billion, but the plan requires provinces and territories to pick up half the costs and won’t roll out until 2021.

The Liberals’ overall housing strategy rests on territorial, provincial and private sector partners picking up about $8.6 billion in costs to go with new and previously promised federal spending.

The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada called on federal, provincial and territorial governments to “act swiftly to protect more households in need of assistance.”

The rental assistance program wrapped into Wednesday’s announcement was a bit of a compromise for the government.

The fund was a way to calm housing providers worried they were going to lose funding if tenants opted for private sector, but also allowed the Liberals to push changes to how the federal government pays for social housing.

The Liberals say housing providers will need to meet a few requirements in order to receive funding, including minimum standards for affordability.

Just Posted

Red Deer record store celebrates its last Record Store Day

The Soundhouse, a guitar and record shop in downtown Red Deer, closes its doors next Saturday

WATCH: On 4—20 Day in Red Deer, marijuana users say legal weed a long time coming

Not wanting to wait for the federal government to legalize recreational marijuana,… Continue reading

Former Central Alberta MLA appealing fine for not protecting a list of 20,000 electors

List included names and addresses of voters in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre

Proposed Alberta legislation would protect consumers

Alberta Utilities Commission would be given power to penalize natural gas and electricity providers

Red Deer beginning two major construction projects

Ross Street’s 1935-era water main to be replaced and 67th Street roundabout landscaped

WATCH: Central Alberta bouldering competition

Central Alberta climbers looked to prove they’re the best at a competition… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer RCMP and Emergency Services play for Humboldt

Red Deer police officers and firefighters laced up their skates to raise… Continue reading

WATCH: Flooding closes portion of Red Deer’s 43 Street

A portion of 43 Street in Red Deer was closed Saturday morning… Continue reading

After air accidents, survivors grapple with flying again

Hundreds of hands grappling with oxygen masks. Flight attendants warning passengers to… Continue reading

Queen Elizabeth to attend pop concert for 92nd birthday

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth is marking her 92nd birthday with a Saturday… Continue reading

‘Such a great person:’ Funeral being held for assistant coach with Broncos

STRASBOURG, Sask. — Mark Cross was a ferocious competitor when he played… Continue reading

UPDATE: Missing Innisfail woman located

A 54-year-old Innisfail woman, who had not been seen since Wednesday, has… Continue reading

Hellebuyck makes 30 saves, Jets beat Wild in Game 5 to advance to Round 2

WINNIPEG — Bryan Little’s teammates were happy they could deliver something special… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month