28 affordable housing units on the way for Sudbury following $7.4M from feds
Funding is from the expanded Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) which allows units to be constructed quicker
Twenty-eight new affordable housing units will be created in Greater Sudbury within 60 days.
The city is getting $7.4-million from the federal government to build the housing units for those who are in uncertain housing situations, experiencing or at risk of homelessness, or living in temporary shelters.
The funding is coming from the Cities Stream of the expanded Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), which is delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), under the National Housing Strategy (NHS).
A number of government officials were in Sudbury for the announcement on Tuesday.
"Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home," said Ahmed Hussen, minister of Families, Children and Social Development and minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
"Today's funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative will go a long way to support those who need it most by quickly providing 28 new affordable homes for vulnerable individuals and families in the City of Greater Sudbury to keep them safe.," he added.
COVID-19 worsened homeless issue
During the news conference, the Member of Parliament for Sudbury, Paul Lefebvre, said he's been advocating for more affordable housing in the city since he was elected in 2015.
"We have seen how COVID-19 has worsened existing housing and homelessness challenges and without urgent action by the Government of Canada, the pandemic could lead to a dramatic increase in homelessness," Lefebvre said.
"[The funding] will provide immediate support to create safe and stable housing to thousands of vulnerable individuals and families," he said.
Sudbury mayor Brian Bigger said he was grateful for the funding from the federal government.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide sweeping impacts on the quality of life for individuals and families throughout Canada; including here in Greater Sudbury," he said.
"Strong communities require a foundation of security and comfort, and today's funding announcement is a collective step in the right direction to provide transitional housing options for our most vulnerable residents," Bigger said.
He added that the $7.4 -million funding will help to build 28 new transitional housing options.
"A significant addition that will compliment the work of our current transitional housing initiatives here in Greater Sudbury," Bigger said.
Working with municipal governments
"The key to this part of the national housing strategy ... has been working with municipalities," said MP Adam Vaughan, who is the Parliamentary Secretary to the minister responsible for CMHC.
"If you don't work with cities' governments you just don't get the work done," he said during the news conference.
"We need strong city partners stepping up to take the leadership on these files because they know their communities," Vaughn said, adding that 30 municipalities across Canada have received RHI funding since last fall.
Vaughn says the funding goes out to municipalities to deliver, acquire and build housing fast. The Sudbury housing units are to be build within 60 days.
"Housing is not the problem we're trying to solve here; housing is just the best tool we have to solve all the problems that are enunciated by some of the challenges we face," he said.
The funding for Sudbury is part of a national initiative to create 4,700 new affordable housing units of permanent affordable housing across the country.
The $1 billion RHI program was launched in October 2020 to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, especially in the context of COVID-19. An additional $1.5 billion was recently announced to further increase rapid construction of affordable housing.