Housing supply

Federal government announces up to $80 million to address housing supply chain issues in northern and remote communities

The federal government announced funding of up to $80 million to address housing supply chain issues in northern and remote communities.

Ahmed Hussen, federal Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion, made the announcement Wednesday morning during a virtual press conference with Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal and Yukon Member of Parliament Brendan Hanley.

“The barriers created by climate and distance are immense, as are the costs, but they are not insurmountable,” Vandal said.

Hussen said the funding will go to “solutions to address how communities can overcome long distances to get supplies, and the impact of a harsh climate, short construction season.”

Hussen added that the funding — which is for all types of housing, including temporary, transitional and permanent — will help communities adjust to the high cost of materials and skilled labor.

It is aimed at supply chain professionals as well as governments, groups and organizations, including First Nations, working in housing development.

“They all have access to that money and it’s really about making sure that communities can access the materials and resources needed to build, operate and maintain housing,” Hussen added.

Housing needs continue to rise

In the 2021 Northern Housing Report released last November, the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Association found that the need for new, affordable, quality housing in the territories continues to grow, in part due of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government has said that there is no single solution to address the growing need for housing or the growing level of homelessness.

He said he committed $300 million over five years in Budget 2019 to help municipalities increase their housing supply through a new program called the Housing Supply Challenge (HSC). The funding announced Wednesday is the third round of funding, specifically for northern and remote communities, from this program.

In the first round of funding, up to $25 million will be shared among 14 different groups who came up with ideas to fill the housing data gap.

In the second round, 29 groups were shortlisted to share up to $40 million to be distributed for “proposed solutions that improve affordable housing pre-development processes,” the federal government said in a news release.