Government of Canada announces support for Rapid Housing in Waterloo Region


REGION OF¬†WATERLOO, ON,¬†Dec. 16, 2020¬†/CNW/ –¬†Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that affordable housing is key to¬†Canada’s¬†recovery as major municipalities across the country including the Region of¬†Waterloo¬†are dealing with the devastating impacts of rising levels of homelessness and housing need.

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and Karen Redman, Chair of the Region of Waterloo, announced details of the nearly $8.2 million Rapid Housing Initiative allocation for the Region of Waterloo.

As part of its Investment Plan for the Major Cities Stream, the Region of Waterloo submitted two projects with two partners for a total of 42 affordable modular housing units. The proposal includes approximately:

  • 36 units of supportive housing at 1470 Block Line Road in Kitchener for women experiencing or at risk of homelessness
  • 6 one-bedroom units located at 127-161 Bechtel Street in¬†Cambridge¬†for applicants on the community housing waitlist

With the $1 billion RHI, the Government of Canada will support the construction of up to 3,000 permanent, new affordable housing units across Canada to help address urgent housing needs for Canadians, especially our most vulnerable.

Delivered by CMHC, under the National Housing Strategy (NHS), RHI provides the necessary capital contributions to develop new, permanent affordable housing by covering costs associated with modular multi-unit rental construction; conversion of non-residential to affordable multi-residential; and, rehabilitation of buildings in disrepair and/or abandoned to affordable multi-residential.


“Our Government is taking all the necessary steps to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home. Our investments with our municipal partners like the Region of¬†Waterloo¬†will go a long way to effectively support those who need it most by quickly providing new affordable housing units to vulnerable individuals and families. Our Government’s plan under the National Housing Strategy continues to provide housing for Canadians from coast to coast to coast, including here in Waterloo Region”¬†–¬†The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

“COVID-19 has impacted all Canadians and disproportionately certain segments, including people without a place to call home. Our Government is a partner in addressing the growing need for safe and affordable housing is outlined in the National Housing Strategy. Today’s Rapid Housing Initiative investment supports the Region of¬†Waterloo¬†to quickly build additional safe and supportive housing units to address our affordable housing shortage. Through this investment we are also creating good jobs and building safer and inclusive communities.” ‚ÄstThe Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and Member of Parliament for¬†Waterloo

“The Region of¬†Waterloo, as the lead service system manager, is working collaboratively with area municipalities, housing providers and the development community to create new affordable housing. These projects closely align with the Region’s 10-year Housing and Homelessness plan by expanding support to help low-and moderate-income households find and maintain housing. It’s great to see these projects move forward through funding provided by the Government of¬†Canada, allowing many future opportunities to create affordable housing in the Region.” –¬†Karen Redman, Regional Chair, Region of¬†Waterloo

“Safe and affordable housing is a human right and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted housing inequities for the most vulnerable in our community,” said Kitchener Mayor,¬†Berry Vrbanovic. “The Rapid Housing Initiative is a truly collaborative effort to build much-needed affordable housing. With women being one of the most impacted groups of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Kitchener is pleased to contribute our Block Line property ‚Äď valued at¬†$2.57 million¬†‚Äď toward this partnership with the YWCA as our first investment to support Kitchener Council’s recently approved Housing For All strategy.”¬†‚ÄstBerry Vrbanovic, Mayor, City of Kitchener

“The YW is an established provider of emergency shelter and affordable housing for women, providing programs and services in our community for over 115 years. Our Lincoln Road Supportive Housing program in¬†Waterloo¬†has been operating successfully for over 30 years, and we’re excited to bring a similar program to Kitchener.”¬†–¬†¬†Elizabeth Clarke, Chief Executive Officer, YW Kitchener ‚ÄstWaterloo

Quick facts:

  • As service system manager, the Region of¬†Waterloo¬†proposes to use the RHI funding allocation for 36 supportive housing units in Kitchener, and 6 affordable housing units in¬†Cambridge. The projects will include a focus on women experiencing or at risk of homelessness and people living with low income. seniors.

  • Under the Major Cities Stream of funding,¬†$500 million¬†is allocated to pre-identified municipalities with the highest levels of renters in severe housing need and people experiencing homelessness. Municipalities can flow funds through a third-party (including a provincial or territorial government).

  • Under the Projects Stream of funding,¬†$500 million¬†in application-based projects from provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous governing bodies and organizations, and non-profit organizations. Applications will be accepted until¬†December 31, 2020.

  • RHI takes a human rights-based approach to housing, serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and others who are among the most vulnerable, including: women and children fleeing domestic violence, seniors, young adults, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans, LGBTQ2+, racialized groups, Black Canadians, and recent immigrants or refugees.

  • The National Housing Strategy is an ambitious 10-year, $55+ billion plan that is giving more Canadians across the country a place to call home, creating 125,000 new housing units and reducing housing need for 530,000 households, as well as repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units.

  • The 2020 Fall Economic Statement proposes to increase the lending capacity of the existing National Housing Strategy’s Rental Construction Financing Initiative by an additional¬†$12 billion¬†over seven years. This new funding will enable CMHC to support the construction of an additional 28,500 purpose-built rental housing units across¬†Canada.

  • Cover Picture: Photo by Matt Reames on Unsplash

SOURCECanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation