British Columbia has signed a deal with the federal government that will see almost $1 billion go to affordable housing across the province over the next decade.
The provincial and federal governments say more than $990 million will be spent on building, repairing and expanding social housing and supporting housing affordability.
The costs will be split between the two levels of government, 50/50.
“Thirty-four thousand families will not have to find themselves on the streets because the federal government is protecting community housing in B.C.,” said federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.
“The previous plan from the former federal government was to cancel this plan for 34,000 families in B.C.”
The B.C. government has been aggressive with promises to address the province’s affordability crisis.
Housing Minister Selina Robinson has promised to fund 114,000 units of affordable housing to “get out of housing crisis.” The money coming from the federal government will make a dent in that promise.
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“It will stretch our dollars further to make housing more affordable,” said Robinson.
“The new investment from the federal government will build on the $7-billion investment that the province is making as part of our 30-point housing plan.”
The province’s 30-point housing plan includes a speculation tax, changes to the foreign home buyers tax and a increase on the school tax for homes worth more than $3 million.
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Tuesday’s funding announcement is part of a $40-billion national housing strategy unveiled by the federal government last year.
Duclos also spoke about the Canada Housing Benefits plan, set to start after the next federal election in April 2020, that will put an average of $2,500 a year into the bank accounts for lower/middle class families.
The new program’s goal is to reduce chronic homelessness.
“I expect people in the Lower Mainland to be beneficiaries of this because of the fact that housing affordability is such a key issue in this community,” Duclos said.
The new agreement will be supported by long-term funding starting April 1, 2019.
“This agreement will help more British Columbians find homes they can afford,” Robinson added. “I look forward to continuing to work closely with Minister Duclos on building the housing that the people in our province need.”
The new money comes on top of the $705 million that was already planned for federal housing investments in British Columbia through the Social Housing Agreement over the next 10 years.