Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the official launch of the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF), a $4B initiative to help bolster housing supply across Canada.
The incentive, outlined in the Federal Government's 2022 budget, will provide funding for local governments to fast track the creation of 100K new middle class homes across Canada by 2024-2025.
"Canada has the fastest growing population in the G7, but our housing supply hasn’t kept up with demand," Trudeau said. "The Housing Accelerator Fund will help local governments cut red tape and backlogs, build the housing we need, and give more people in Canada a safe and affordable place to call home."
To access funding, municipal and Indigenous governments are required to submit an action plan that details their commitment to a housing supply growth target, outlines the specific initiatives they will undertake in order to increase housing supply and speed up approvals, and aligns with the feds' priorities of creating dense, affordable, inclusive, and diverse communities.
The application portal will open in June, and local government are encouraged to begin preparing their action plans now. There will be one intake window in 2023, with the HAF running until 2026-2027.
Eligible initiatives include fixing outdated permitting systems, introducing zoning reforms to build more density, and incentivizing development close to public transit. Funding will be provided both upfront to support implementation as well as upon the delivery of results.
"We recognize that the key to increasing housing affordability is to boost the supply of homes available to Canadians," said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion. "By partnering with local governments, this fund will enable us to create long-term systemic changes in our housing system and make a tangible impact in increasing housing supply."
The HAF is part of Canada's $82B National Housing Strategy (NHS). Other NHS initiatives include the new Tax-Free First Home Savings Account, which allows Canadians to save up to $40K tax-free to help them buy their first home, and a third round of the Rapid Housing Initiative, which will create 4,500 affordable housing units.