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Halifax council passes motion to accept $8.7M for rapid affordable housing

HRM has to submit an investment plan by Nov. 27 to secure federal funding

2 min read
caption Housing developments on the corner of Preston and Pepperell streets in Halifax.
Talia Meade

Council unanimously passed a motion on Tuesday to accept federal funding for the Rapid Housing Initiative.

The federal government is spending $1 billion to build 3,000 new affordable housing units across Canada. HRM is receiving $8.7 million of that funding to create a minimum of 28 units.

Kelly Denty, director of planning and development, said that this motion grants Halifax Mayor Mike Savage and Jacques Dubé, the chief administrative officer, permission to enter into an agreement with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

The funds from Ottawa will be transferred within a week, according to the Rapid Housing Initiative report prepared by Jillian MacLellan.

HRM is required to enter into agreements with non-profit housing providers to build the housing. Municipal staff reached out to 40 non-profit housing providers and housing advocates to see if there were potential developments that could be eligible for municipal funding. They received 16 submissions back, MacLellan reported.

Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia (AHANS) is one non-profit that submitted a proposal. They are a housing advocate that promotes affordable housing through development and construction.

Jim Graham, the executive director of AHANS, said in an interview that they will be consulting HRM on the developments but won’t know how big of a role they will play until council decides who gets funding.

“The water will clear a little bit once we understand how the HRM sees the money being allocated,” said Graham. “It’s hard to say what role we’ll have going forward. We might have some role, big role or no role.”

Graham said there are risks in the project management of any development of this size.

“The timelines are tight,” said Graham. HRM has to complete the developments within one year of the agreement with the CMHC or risk losing federal funding, MacLellan reported.

Council will hold a special meeting on Nov. 24 to talk about which projects meet the criteria and can get funded. They must submit an investment plan to CMHC three days later, on Nov. 27.

“We will get down into the specifics of which groups we would like to see awarded the grants next week at the meeting,” Savage told council.

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About the author

Talia Meade

Student journalist from Ottawa. Interested in videography, creative nonfiction and politics.

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