Canada Launches New Affordable Housing Model

The federal government has invested $15 million in the innovative partnership that will back new projects in British Columbia and Alberta.
Railyard Housing Co-op. Image courtesy of Community Land Trust

The Canadian government has invested $15 million (C$20 million) in a new lending institution called HPC Housing Investment Corp. (HI-C), designed to finance affordable housing projects as part of a $41.3 billion (C$55 billion) drive to create 125,000 units of affordable homes. The first round of funding is complete and valued at around C$33.1 million for two projects totaling 271 units in British Columbia and Alberta.

Railyard Housing Co-op, developed by Concert Properties in Vancouver, British Columbia, is a 15-story, 135-unit affordable housing building that opened last year in the Olympic Village at 95 East 1st Ave. Community Land Trust has partnered with the City of Vancouver to provide homes targeted to low-to-moderate income residents, with more than 10 homes offered at shelter rates. HI-C is providing take-out financing for the project at a 40-year fixed rate.

Parkdale Housing Development Project in Edmonton, Alberta, consists of two buildings providing 136 units of affordable housing for low-to-moderate income residents in the north-central part of the provincial capital. The two buildings at 8315 113 Ave. NW were fully occupied by the end of last year. HI-C is providing take-out financing for the property.

Innovating for affordability

HI-C is a federal non-share corporation that counts BC Housing, Manitoba Housing Renewal Corp. and Ontario’s Housing Services Corp. as its founding members. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) advised on the development of the new financial funding model.

The federal government’s initial C$20 million commitment through the National Housing Strategy’s Affordable Housing Innovation Fund will create a new C$400 million funding pool for projects across Canada. The government aims to lift 530,000 families out of housing need through its 10-year affordable housing strategy. In addition to building new homes, the strategy intends to repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units.

The Canadian federal government is supporting other innovative funding models. In April, a 90-unit affordable student housing community in Montreal broke ground, backed by the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund.