Halifax has become the first city outside of Ontario to reach an agreement under the Housing Accelerator Fund.
Federal officials have made an agreement to provide the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) with $79.3 million to help fast-track the building of 2,600 new housing units over the next three years and spur construction of more than 8,866 homes over the next decade.
The Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) is a $4B initiative intended to speed up the creation of 100,000 new homes across Canada by 2026-2027. To date, London, Vaughan, and Hamilton have inked deals ranging from $59 million to $93.5 million.
To access funding, local governments must submit an application outlining their supply growth targets, as well as specific initiatives that will boost supply and speed up approvals.
"Tackling housing affordability requires focused attention from all orders of government," said Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax. "With this funding announcement from the federal government, HRM will be able to get rid of key bottlenecks that have hindered the construction of much needed homes in our city, proving that working together is how you get real results."
Through its HAF agreement, Halifax plans to improve permitting processes, reduce upfront costs for permitting, incentivize the use of pre-approved building plans, and develop an incentive program for commercial to residential conversions.
The city will also encourage development along transit corridors, expand the current Affordable Housing Grant program, and update its heritage preservation policy.
Halifax has committed to zoning changes that will increase density via greater height, reduced parking requirements, and increased as-of-right development approvals. Also, the city will allow for the construction of four residential units on one lot, an initiative included in the HAF agreements of Vaughan and Hamilton. A lack thereof has put Mississauga's HAF agreement at risk.
"Challenging moments like this one require big, transformative solutions," said Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West. "To keep people housed and prices reasonable, we must rapidly accelerate new builds and remove barriers to denser, better-connected cities."