Canada’s Rapid Housing Initiative leaves out many non-profit developers

Sector professionals say the $1 billion federal housing program involves very tight deadlines and complicated paperwork

Why It Matters

COVID-19 is aggravating Canada’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis. According to a 2020 survey from the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, 1.6 million Canadians have experienced homelessness. The government is offering critical aid to affordable housing developers, but it may not be accessible to all.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Canadians sleep under bridges, on street corners, and on the couches of friends and family. 

How do they self-isolate during a pandemic? 

Public health restrictions due to COVID-19 have forced shelters to close, limited the activities of street outreach teams, and tightened the incomes of people at risk of losing their homes. Canada has suffered from a dearth of affordable housing for years, but COVID-19 has raised the stakes. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to allocate a billion dollars for affordable housing projects across Canada is welcome news for organizations tackling homelessness. But some non-profit housing developers say they will still have a tough time launching new projects. 

The Rapid Housing Initiative, which the federal government announced on Oct. 27, offers a total of $1 billion to build up t

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