Justin Trudeau stops in Guelph to launch $4 billion housing fund
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stopped in Guelph Friday to announce a $4 billion housing accelerator fund.
Trudeau says the money will help eliminate barriers to create more homes, especially affordable units.
The announcement was made at Grace Garden in Guelph. The building, which used to be a motel, is currently being converted to affordable housing. Its 32 units are expected to be ready in two months.
The federal government says they’re aiming to fast track 100,000 homes in the next decade.
Trudeau says the government will directly fund municipalities that submit action plans with a goal to “build more faster,” through methods like accelerating project approval timelines, increasing densification and freeing up unused land – all while keeping affordable housing units in mind as well.
Trudeau says this is not a fund for luxury units of small changes – it’s about “transformational change.”
“The boldest plans resulting in the most housing units, especially affordable units will be rewarded. This fund will adapt to local housing needs, it will be a flexible tool designed to help cities and communities unlock major new supply of housing, for example initiatives like updating permitting systems, tackling nimbism, zoning reforms, transit oriented development,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau says municipalities are encouraged to apply, including Indigenous governments.
Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie say this funding is a much needed boost for municipalities across Canada.
“We know that we're going to be able to now apply to this fund. It's going to help with some transformational change, process changes to get buildings done faster for people,” Guthrie said.
According to the Guelph and Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, more funding from all levels of government is needed. It said about 10.8 percent of residents in Guelph are living in unsuitable or unaffordable homes.
“When we consider where need is falling across income levels, within that amount we know that 5.2 percent of home owners are in core housing need. 21.8 percent of renters in the city are also experiencing core housing need,” Dominica McPherson, director of the Guelph and Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination said.
The federal government wants to start receiving action plans in June.
According to the Region of Waterloo, it is always looking for funding for new housing projects in the community.
“We know that we have 35,000 units somewhere in the process of being approved, so we think we’re ready to take advantage of any kind of program,” Karen Redman, Waterloo regional chair, said.
Local governments need to submit an action plan as part of their application for any funding.