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Budget 2019: New Investments in Private Housing Affordability, But A Lack of Investment in Community Housing

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The 2019 federal Budget unveiled today by Finance Minister Bill Morneau contained new measures to assist first time home buyers pay the costs associated with home ownership, and increased support for the supply of affordable rental housing.  However, the Budget contained very few new investments to support community housing.

The Budget has expanded the withdrawal limit under the First Time Home Buyers Plan, and has created a new First Time Home Buyer Incentive in which CMHC would assume a shared equity in mortgages for qualified home buyers. The previously announced Rental Construction Financing Initiative, originally scheduled to be in place for 4 years, has been extended to 9 years, and provided with an additional $10 billion.  

There were few investments in the measures contained in the National Housing Strategy to address community housing; primarily a $300 million program provided to finance and support affordable housing developments to improve energy efficiency in new and existing housing.  Of concern is a statement that the Budget will introduce “new legislation requiring the federal government to maintain a National Housing Strategy and that requires reporting to Parliament on the Strategy’s goals and outcomes”, which falls short of the right to housing legislation initially proposed in the National Housing Strategy.

Although the Budget also includes $60 million over 5 years to support urban Indigenous service provider facilities, there is no commitment to develop an urban and rural Indigenous housing strategy, a key recommendation of CHRA for several years.

“Overall, Budget 2019 is good news for first time home buyers and those looking to break into the housing market,” said Jeff Morrison, Executive Director of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association.  “However, we are disappointed that there is no additional support for the community housing sector, including investments to increase community housing supply, providing greater supports for community housing such as an extension of the 10 year subsidies or land acquisition, and the lack of an urban and rural Indigenous Strategy.  We are also concerned that the government appears to be watering down its commitment to the right to housing legislation introduced in the National Housing Strategy. We call on the government to uphold its vision for the right to housing legislation as outlined in November 2017.”

A copy of CHRA’s Budget 2019 summary document can be found on the CHRA website.   

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For more information, contact:
Jeff Morrison, Executive Director
jmorrison@chra-achru.ca
(613) 291-9377 (cell)