CRD Media Release
The program partners of the Regional Housing First Program (RHFP) have reached agreement to extend the program by contributing additional matching grants of $10 million each, for a total of $120 million, to ensure the program reaches its target number of homes for people experiencing chronic homelessness who are ready to live independently with supports.
The RHFP is an equal partnership agreement between the Capital Regional District (CRD), the Government of BC through BC Housing, and the Government of Canada through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and its Affordable Housing Innovation Fund to build homes on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. The program was initiated to create more affordable rental housing and address the needs of people experiencing homelessness in the capital region.
The original goal of the RHFP was to invest $90 million to support the development of mixed-market communities in the capital region, including 400 units to be rented at the provincial income assistance shelter rate ($375/month). Due to unprecedented escalations in construction costs, the program was forecasting a drop in the number of deliverable shelter-rate units to 300. With an additional $30 million, the program will remain on target to achieve its original goal of 400 shelter-rate units of urgently needed affordable housing.
Implementation of the program is already underway, with over 900 units complete or under construction to date. The program is currently on track to have over 1,800 units complete or under construction by December 31, 2022. Approximately 20% of the units will be rented at provincial income assistance rates within projects that will also include at least 31% affordable rental units and up to 49% near market rental units. The program aims to meet a broad range of housing needs while moving at-risk individuals into long-term, tenant-based, supported housing to enable recovery and integration into society.
Confirmation of the CRD’s participation in the RHFP extension was reached earlier this spring by amending Bylaw No. 4326 “Land Assembly, Housing and Land Banking Service Establishment” to remove the limitations to borrowing and Bylaw No. 4327 “Regional Housing First Program Loan Authorization” to authorize the borrowing of an additional $10 million dollars. Approval for the bylaw was received by unanimous consent from the CRDs 13 municipalities and 3 electoral areas. For more information on Housing First, please visit: https://www.crd.bc.ca/project/regional-housing-first-program