The pandemic has forced many Canadians to limit the amount of time they spent away from home in an effort to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19.
However, for many Canadians experiencing homelessness, staying home is a luxury they cannot afford.
As a result, the federal government is working on an initiative intended to ensure all Canadians have access to a safe and affordable place to call their own.
On September 21, Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), announced a new Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), which is intended to help address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by rapidly creating new affordable housing.
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“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. With the Rapid Housing Initiative, our Government is moving quickly to provide more affordable housing to keep our vulnerable populations safe, to fight the virus over the long-term, and to support Canada’s economic recovery,” Hussen said in a news release.
Additionally, the RHI will also help support Canada’s economic recovery by creating employment in the housing and construction sectors.
The RHI, delivered by the CMHC, is a $1 billion initiative—the newest initiative as part of the National Housing Strategy—which will cover the construction of modular housing, as well as the acquisition of land, and the conversion of existing buildings to affordable housing, and enable the rapid creation of up to 3,000 new affordable housing units across the country.
Further, the Government of Canada will provide $236.7 million through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy to help extend and expand the emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak—this funding will go towards extending the emergency measures that have been effective in reducing the risk of potential outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness, as well as provide them with the flexibility to deliver affordable housing solutions.
“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. 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,” Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, said in the same release.