THE NATIONAL HOUSING ACCORD: A MULTI-SECTOR APPROACH TO ENDING CANADA’S RENTAL HOUSING CRISIS
As Canada’s housing crisis worsens, a group of housing sector organizations – non-profit and for-profit housing providers, developers and investors – have put forward a plan to restore affordability, protect Canada’s most vulnerable, and build at least two million new affordable and market rental units by 2030.
The National Housing Accord’s recommendations provide the blueprint for millions of people to have a safe, secure and affordable place to live. If implemented, it will address housing affordability, meet the needs of our growing population, create jobs and play a significant role in ending homelessness. We are ready to step up and address this crisis, but we need the federal government to join us and step into their vital housing leadership role.
Rents have been increasing rapidly in many parts of the country, caused by a lack of accessible, climate-friendly, affordable and market-rate purpose-built rental units to house a growing population.
The poorest Canadians are suffering the most – newcomers, refugees, single parents, seniors, students – and the situation is worsening.
Restoring affordability will require the tripling of home building over the next nine years. The scale of this challenge is too big for government alone, with the costs to address this problem estimated to be in the trillions of dollars.
This plan will channel billions of dollars in private investment into purpose-built rental construction, provide resources to the non-profit and co-operative housing sector to increase non-profit housing, remove bottlenecks that are slowing down construction and immediately support those who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless with expanded housing benefits.
If implemented, this plan will drive significant economic growth, improve productivity, create jobs, put Canada on the road to ending homelessness by dramatically reducing housing need, meet our obligations to newcomers and refugees, and support the federal government’s commitment to realizing the right to housing for everyone in Canada.
National Housing Accord: 10 Recommendations
The federal government should help create a national workforce and immigration strategy on housing, including construction trades and other employment classes related to housing production.
The federal government should help reform CMHC fees and the federal tax system, including changes to capital cost provisions and eliminating the GST/HST on purpose-built rental housing to incentivize the construction of purpose-built rental housing.
Provide low-cost, long-term fixed-rate financing for constructing purpose-built rental housing, as well as financing to upgrade existing purpose-built rentals to make them more accessible, climate-friendly and energy efficient.
To ensure innovations achieve scale, the federal government should help develop a robust innovation strategy for housing, including procurement policy and innovation centres for housing construction.
The federal government should help reform the National Building Code to drive innovation in the homebuilding sector.
Streamline the CMHC approvals process, which can include a Code of Conduct for Builders and a catalogue of pre-approved designs to allow for the fast-tracking of purpose-built rental housing.
Create property acquisition programs for non-profit housing providers to help purchase existing rental housing projects and hotels and facilitate office-to-residential conversions. These programs could include capital grants, provision of pre-approved debt financing, funds that provide secondary debt and equity financing, or other innovative levers that help with the initial costs without saddling the providers with operating and significant debt servicing costs.
Create a Homelessness Prevention and Housing Benefit (HPHB), which would provide immediate rental relief to up to 385,000 households at imminent risk of homelessness, help over 50,000 people leave homelessness and reduce pressure on Canada’s overwhelmed homeless systems.
Reform the Canada Housing Benefit to better target individuals and families with the greatest housing needs by replacing it with a Portable Housing Benefit (PHB).
Story by: nationalhousingaccord.ca