Government of Canada announces support for Rapid Housing Initiative in Calgary

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 cities across the country including Calgary 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), and Naheed Nenshi, the Mayor of Calgary, announced details of the $24.6 million Rapid Housing Initiative allocation for Calgary.

As part of its Investment Plan for the Major Cities Stream, Calgary submitted three projects that will build 176 new units of affordable housing:

  • Silvera for Seniors to complete a hotel conversion into a seniors’ residence
  • Horizon Housing for new modular homes for women and children fleeing domestic violence
  • HomeSpace Society to provide new homes for Indigenous people as part of a rehabilitation of an old building

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. Acquisition of land and buildings would be covered under eligible costs.


“Our Government wants to ensure that every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home. Investments with our municipal partners like Calgary under the Rapid Housing Initiative’s Major Cities Stream 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 to keep them safe. This is one of the ways our Government’s National Housing Strategy continues to provide housing for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.” - The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

“This immediate funding is a great start, and a solid down payment to address homelessness in our city. A scan of the community demonstrates how unique our non-profit housing sector in Calgary really is. In addition to this important step today, we have a massive opportunity in front of us to deliver housing, at pace, and ensure we address the needs of vulnerable people and those experiencing homelessness in Calgary.”– Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary

Quick facts:

  • The $24.6M committed to Calgary was meant to create a minimum of 116 new affordable homes; we are delighted it will go further than that and result in 176 new homes. The projects will include a focus on seniors, indigenous peoples, and women and children fleeing domestic violence.
  • This immediate funding is a great down payment on future affordable housing development in Calgary. Calgary’s COVID-19 Community Advocacy Plan identifies the need to support 600 Calgarians experiencing homelessness into safe and secure housing, and the potential to create or acquire 5,400 new homes over the next three years.
  • 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.

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As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. CMHC’s aim is that by 2030, everyone in Canada has a home they can afford, and that meets their needs. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

More than 100,000 Calgary households are forecast to be in housing need by 2025. The City of Calgary’s goal is to work closely with all orders of government and increase the capacity of the non-profit housing sector – increasing the supply of affordable housing and ensuring people at all income levels can live and work in Calgary. In these extraordinary times, the ability to stay home will again be a critical tool to effectively manage outbreaks and subsequent waves of Covid-19 infections. For more information, visit: