Canada – Alberta agreement boosts affordable housing funding

The Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta are partnering on a joint investment to build new and renovate existing affordable housing. This investment will help create jobs, strengthen the economy, and improve the quality of life for residents of Alberta.

CALGARY, June 25, 2009 — The Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta are partnering on a joint investment to build new and renovate existing affordable housing. This investment will help create jobs, strengthen the economy, and improve the quality of life for residents of Alberta.

Both levels of government officially signed an amendment to the Canada – Alberta Affordable Housing Program Agreement and announced $386 million over the next two years in Alberta.

The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), joined the Honourable Yvonne Fritz, Alberta Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, at a signing ceremony today.

“The Government of Canada continues to work hard to support Canadians during these challenging economic times, and has moved aggressively to ensure Canada’s Economic Action Plan is implemented rapidly,” said Minister Prentice. “We are helping the most vulnerable, including seniors and persons with disabilities, access suitable, affordable housing, as well as making needed renovations to existing social housing both in Alberta and across Canada.”

“This strong partnership between the governments of Alberta and Canada will strengthen the economy, create jobs and help low to moderate income people across the province,” said Minister Fritz. “The additional investment in Alberta’s social housing portfolio means we will be able to expand upon planned maintenance and provide upgraded homes for families in need.”

Today’s announcement includes federal funding of $95 million over two years under Canada’s Economic Action Plan as part of a one-time investment of more than $2 billion to build new and renovate existing social housing in Canada. The Alberta Government is also contributing $95 million for these initiatives, over the next two years.

These investments build upon the $1.9 billion commitment for housing and homelessness programs announced by the Government of Canada in September 2008, which extended the Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) and the renovation programs for low-income households for two years. Today’s announcement includes a combined investment of $48 million by both levels of government for the two-year extension of the AHI to build new affordable housing. The province is also contributing $132 million for affordable housing purposes over the next two years. Today’s announcement also includes more than $16 million in federal funding to assist low-income households with needed renovations to their homes.

Overall, the federal contribution is $135 million, while the province is contributing a further $251 million from its Capital Plan, for a combined investment of $386 million.

Today’s announcement was held at Alice Bissett Place, celebrating the official opening of a new 114-unit affordable housing project for seniors, individuals and persons with special needs.

Located at 2990 – 17 Street SE, the project received a total of $6.1 million in federal funding under the Canada – Alberta Affordable Housing Initiative and $100,000 in Proposal Development Funding, for a total of $6.2 million to off-set project costs. The project also received approximately $6.1 million from the Province of Alberta.

CMHC has been Canada’s national housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes and making vibrant and sustainable communities and cities a reality across the country.

To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc.ca/housingactionplan. For more information on Canada’s Economic Action Plan, call 1-800-O Canada or visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

Alberta Housing and Urban Affairs aims to create more than 11,000 affordable housing units in Alberta by 2012 and in March, released Canada’s first provincial strategy to end homelessness.

For more information on Alberta’s housing initiatives, visit www.housing.alberta.ca.

Media Contact:

Michelle Bakos

Press Secretary

Office of Minister Finley

Tel.: 819-994-2482

Email: michelle.bakos@hrsdc-rhdsc.gc.ca

Kimberlee Jones

Communications Consultant

Prairie and Territories Business Centre

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Tel.: 403-515-3048

Email: kjones@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Katrina Bluetchen

Communications

Alberta Housing and Urban Affairs

Tel. 780-427-4897

Email: Katrina.bluetchen@gov.ab.ca

To call toll-free within Alberta, dial 310-0000

Backgrounder

Investments in Affordable Housing for Canadians

The Government of Canada’s commitment to affordable housing is significant.

Overall, Canada’s Economic Action Plan provides a total of $7.8 billion to build quality housing, stimulate construction, create jobs, encourage home ownership and enhance the energy efficiency of Canadian homes. In the process, it will provide new and renovated housing for more than 200,000 Canadian households.

Of the $7.8 billion, more than $2 billion is provided through CMHC to build new and renovate existing social housing. This will include:

* $1 billion for social housing renovation;

* $600 million for new housing and repairs to existing social housing on-reserve and in the North broken down as follows:

*

o $400 million for on-reserve communities

o $200 million for the North

* $400 million for housing for low-income seniors; and

* $75 million for housing for people with disabilities.

Most of this funding, $1.525 billion of the more than $2 billion, is being delivered by provinces and territories through amendments to existing agreements. Provinces and territories will design and deliver these initiatives, as well as cost-match the federal investment.

The federal government will directly deliver the remaining $550 million of this $2 billion funding: $150 million for the renovation and retrofit of social housing projects administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and $400 million in new construction and repair for housing on-reserve through CMHC and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

In September 2008, the Government of Canada also announced $1.9 billion over five years for housing and homelessness programs for low-income Canadians. As part of this investment, the Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI) and the federal renovation programs for low-income households were extended for two years. Today’s announcement includes $48 million from both levels of government for the two-year extension of the AHI. In addition, as part of the two-year extension of the renovation programs, $16 million in federal funding will be available to assist low-income households with needed renovations to their homes.

Overall, for both the stimulus funding and extensions, the federal contribution is $135 million, while the province is contributing a further $251 million, for the combined investment of $386 million.

As well, up to $2 billion in low-cost repayable loans for housing-related infrastructure projects will be made available to towns and cities across the country.

The Government of Canada, through CMHC, spends approximately $1.7 billion annually to support almost 625,000 low- and moderate-income households in existing social housing across Canada. In Alberta, the federal government provides almost $126 million annually to support some 39,050 households.

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