On Monday, the Government of Canada announced that it has reached an agreement with the City of Richmond that will see the city receive $35.9M through the federal government's Housing Accelerator Fund.
The funding is expected to fast track over 1,000 units of new housing over the next three years and 3,100 over the next decade.
Housing Accelerator Fund money is released in installments. After an initial installment, municipal governments must fulfill the requirements as outlined in their agreement with the federal government to help bolster housing supply — amending policy or approving new policy, as two examples — before further installments are released.
According to the federal announcement on Monday, as part of the agreement, the City of Richmond will commit to eight local initiatives.
"The City has a strong focus on creating affordable and housing below market prices through a variety of programs and partnerships with the non-profit sector," the federal government said. "They will also fast track development applications and provide grants to support building new rental homes, cooperative housing, co-housing communities, and creating an affordable home ownership program. Additionally, the funding will support a number of zoning reforms, local area plans and optimizing the permitting process with the use of technology and software."
One such affordable housing program is the City's Low-End Market Rental Program, which was launched in 2007 and, as described by the City, "uses an inclusionary zoning approach through which developers receive a density bonus in exchange for providing built units or a cash-in-lieu contribution." The City says the program has secured over 1,000 units of affordable housing units.
In 2018, the City approved its 10-year Affordable Housing Strategy.
Monday's announcement was made by Richmond Centre MP Wilson Miao, Steveston-Richmond East MP Parm Bains, and Mayor of Richmond Malcolm Brodie. Federal Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities Sean Fraser was not present for the announcement.
"The federal funding announced today represents a partnership over the next three years to add over a thousand units to our new home inventory, meeting the needs of Richmond residents with a focus on affordability," said Mayor Brodie. "The funding will help the City implement eight specific initiatives to fast-track the creation of new housing units which will span the range of affordable home ownership – from market rentals, to non-market and low-end market rentals, to those needing supportive housing."
"As a lifelong Richmond resident, generational housing affordability is very important to me," added Bains. "Our government is proud to be working with the City of Richmond to ensure we are doing our part to fulfill the housing needs in our city and across Canada. This funding of $35.9 million for housing in Richmond will accelerate the development of safe and affordable housing to meet the needs of our rapidly growing city where we need it most."
Richmond is the fourth-largest municipality, by population, in British Columbia, and the funding amount aligns with its standing, coming behind the $115M for Vancouver, $95M for Surrey, and $43M for Burnaby, but more than the $31.5M for Kelowna.