Removing barriers to build more homes, faster in Waterloo, Ontario

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WATERLOO, ON , Feb. 2, 2024 /CNW/ – Right now, in communities across the country, building the housing we need, especially affordable housing, is too hard. That’s why the federal government is working with municipalities to break down barriers and build more homes, faster so Canadians – whether they are just starting out, growing their families, or aging in security – can find a place to call home, at a price they can afford.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the federal government has reached an agreement with the City of Waterloo, Ontario, to fast-track 650 new housing units over the next three years. This work will help spur the construction of more than 15,000 homes over the next decade and help meet the demand in Waterloo.

Under the Housing Accelerator Fund, this agreement will provide over $22 million to eliminate barriers to building the housing we need, faster. It will create more housing options in the city, including more rentals, affordable units, and housing near university and college campuses. As part of the agreement, Waterloo will allow up to four units as-of-right, and up to four storeys in low-density neighbourhoods. The city will build more homes around public transit, turn city-owned land into new housing, and partner with non-profit homebuilders to create more affordable apartments. It will also modernize city infrastructure – ending zoning restrictions and implementing a new permitting system to cut red tape and speed up approvals. Together, these initiatives will significantly improve the way affordable housing is built and delivered in one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities.

The Housing Accelerator Fund is helping cut red tape and fast-track the construction of over 500,000 new homes for people in towns, cities, and Indigenous communities across Canada over the next decade. It asks for innovative action plans from local governments, and once approved, provides upfront funding to ensure the timely building of new homes, as well as additional funds upon delivering results. Local governments are encouraged to think big and be bold in their approaches, which could include accelerating project timelines, allowing increased housing density, and encouraging affordable housing units.

The Government of Canada is supporting the middle class – and housing is key to that work. Our plan to double the rate of housing construction over the next decade will help build the housing supply we need. We are working with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, as well as Indigenous partners, to build more homes for Canadians, faster, and make life better for everyone.

Quotes

Waterloo needs more homes that Canadians can afford. That’s why we’re working with mayors to cut red tape and change the way we build housing. Today’s announcement with Waterloo will help build more affordable homes, faster, so that every Canadian has a good place to call their own.”

— The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“We are excited and proud to announce this partnership with Waterloo today. By allowing four units as-of-right, partnering with non-profits to create affordable apartments, building more homes around public transit, and working to turn city-owned lands into new housing developments, the City will ensure that Waterloo has more of the kinds of homes we need to tackle the housing crisis. We will continue working with cities, towns, mayors, and all levels of government to get more homes built for Canadians at prices they can afford.”

— The Hon. Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“The Government of Canada’s investment is a game changer in addressing the housing crisis in our community. People are at the heart of the housing crisis – people who need affordable, inclusive, sustainable, and diverse housing options. Working with partners in the private, non-profit, and academic sectors, the City of Waterloo is advancing housing projects which support our vision for complete communities with a high quality of life for all. We’re grateful to the Government of Canada for this Housing Accelerator Fund investment. It will change the future of housing for people in the City of Waterloo.”

— Her Worship Dorothy McCabe, Mayor of Waterloo

Quick Facts

  • The City of Waterloo’s Housing Accelerator Fund agreement will allow up to four residential units as-of-right and four storeys within the city’s low-density neighbourhoods on existing residential lots. The city will also make zoning and program changes to make shovel ready lands available to housing providers, implement enhancements to the development approval process, and create faster development and permit approvals.
  • The Housing Accelerator Fund is a $4 billion initiative from the Government of Canada that will run until 2026-27. It is designed to help cities, towns, and Indigenous governments unlock new housing supply through innovative approaches and fast-track at least 100,000 permitted new homes over the first three years.
  • The announcement was held at the Parkwood Seniors’ Community, a 90-unit project receiving over $33 million from the Affordable Housing Fund. The fund invests in community organizations to help build and repair affordable housing units. Investment is provided as low-interest and/or forgivable loans and contributions.
  • With today’s announcement, the Government of Canada has signed 32 agreements since the launch of the Housing Accelerator Fund. Combined, these agreements will fast-track an estimated total of over 500,000 housing units over the next decade.
  • The Housing Accelerator Fund is part of Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS), an $82+ billion plan to give more Canadians a place to call home. Progress on programs and initiatives is updated quarterly at www.placetocallhome.ca. The Housing Funding Initiatives Map shows affordable housing projects that have been developed.
  • Since the creation of the NHS, the Government of Canada has committed over $38.89 billion to support the creation of almost 152,000 units and the repair of over 241,000. These measures prioritize those in greatest need, including seniors, Indigenous Peoples, people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and women and children fleeing violence.
  • Since 2015, the government has helped almost two million Canadians find a place to call home.

Associated Links

  • Housing Accelerator Fund
  • Housing Accelerator Fund – Building more homes, faster
  • Making housing more affordable for Canadians
  • National Housing Strategy

This document is also available at https://pm.gc.ca

SOURCE Prime Minister’s Office

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