Toronto, ON – WoodGreen Community Services welcomes the Government of Canada’s commitment in the Fall Economic Statement to build more affordable housing for the most vulnerable Canadians. For over 85 years, WoodGreen has focused on providing integrated wrap-around services for the hardest to house, including homeless populations and women with children living in the shelter system.
Yesterday, the 2023 Fall Economic Statement announced an additional $1 billion over three years, starting in 2025-26, for the Affordable Housing Fund, formally the National Co-investment Fund. This investment will support non-profit, co-op, and public housing providers to build more homes by 2028. This top-up will be supported by $631 million previously intended for the Canada Housing Benefit.
The Affordable Housing Fund should have grants ranging from a minimum of $50,000 to $150,000 a door as in the original co-investment fund. As a non-profit developer, this contribution is critical to creating a financially feasible housing stock with deeply affordable rents. We look forward to providing input on how the new program could be more effective in supporting affordable housing development.
However, we are disappointed that the investment will not initiate until 2025 and that the majority of this top-up is coming from reallocated money pulled from the Canada Housing Benefit. In Toronto, we have witnessed unassisted refugees on the streets, shelters overrun, and churches doing all they can to house people. Now is the time for the Government of Canada to provide additional investment into the Canada Housing Benefit instead of reallocating funds that can support rental costs for newcomers, refugees, and unassisted refugee claimants.
WoodGreen has a growth strategy to scale and speed up the development of deeply affordable housing for the most vulnerable populations in Toronto’s rental market. To achieve our goal, we need the Government of Canada to take the following additional actions:
- Commence funding of the new Affordable Housing Fund immediately in 2024 and ensure consistency with the current National Co-investment Fund pipeline;
- Ensure the increase of grants for the development of affordable and deeply affordable homes to a higher level, ranging from a minimum of $50,000 to $150,000 a door;
- Work with other levels of government in partnership with the non-profit sector to set up and contribute to a revolving start-up affordable housing equity fund;
- Continue to invest in the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) to ensure that non-profit housing providers can develop affordable housing for seniors, youth, and newcomers;
- And provide non-profit developers preferential access to government-owned surplus land to develop deeply affordable rental units.
WoodGreen is committed to being a partner and working with all levels of government to introduce and implement further solutions that can accelerate the supply of affordable rental housing.
WoodGreen — with close to 1,500 deeply affordable housing units — is one of Toronto’s largest non-municipal affordable housing providers, offering safe and affordable homes to seniors, newcomers, youth, individuals with disabilities and people with a long history of homelessness. Our organization has an ambitious plan to own and/or manage 3,000 units within the next ten years.
ABOUT WOODGREEN COMMUNITY SERVICES (woodgreen.org): WoodGreen is one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, serving more than 37,000 people each year. We offer over 75 programs and services tackling the social determinants that affect the health and well-being of individuals in our community.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Jen Mayville, Senior Communications Manager; [email protected]; (437) 226-8091 (cell).