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Vancouver gets $51.5 million from feds to house homeless

Last Updated Oct 27, 2020 at 10:18 am PST

FILE - A tent is seen at Strathcona Park in Vancouver. (CityNews)
Summary

Vancouver will receive $51.5 million for affordable housing investments through a new CMHC initiative

The CMHC rapid housing initiative will invest $1 billion to create up to 3,000 new permanent, affordable housing units

The federal funding follows Vancouver council's approval of a $30-million emergency COVID-19 housing action plan

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver will receive more than $50 million from the federal government to help house the city’s homeless.

“In the fight against the dual health emergencies of COVID-19 and the overdose crisis, Vancouver is on the front lines. I want to thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Federal Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen for helping us secure homes for our most vulnerable neighbours,” Mayor Kennedy Stewart says.

The city will receive $51.5 million for affordable housing investments through the new Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation rapid housing initiative.

The initiative, launched Tuesday, will invest $1 billion to create up to 3,000 new permanent, affordable housing units across the country.

It was designed during discussions between the federal government and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayor’s Caucus in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and has two streams.

One gives $500 million to major cities — those with the highest demand — for pre-determined projects. The other gives the same amount for applications from provinces, territories and municipalities.

“No Canadian should ever be without a place to call home. By making smart and substantial investments in affordable housing and providing funding directly to municipalities, we’re creating jobs, strengthening our communities across the country, and helping the most vulnerable,” says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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For Vancouver, the funding follows council’s approval of a $30-million emergency COVID-19 housing action plan to support unsheltered residents in the city.

“This $51.5 million commitment, combined with our own local investments, will allow us to rapidly stabilize the lives of hundreds of our neighbours and the communities they call home,” says Stewart.

“The next step will be to convince the province of British Columbia to provide the wrap-around services we need to alleviate homelessness in Strathcona, the Downtown Eastside, and the West End,” he added.

“As I’ve said time and again, there is no silver bullet. We’re at the beginning of a long road that Vancouver cannot walk alone, but today’s announcement shows that Ottawa has our back.”

Of the federal funding, Toronto will get more than $200 million. Montreal is getting $56.8 million.

Applications for funding can be submitted until Dec. 31.