The Trudeau government announced Tuesday more details about its national housing plan amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying $500 million will “immediately” be going to 15 Canadian cities.
Speaking at a media conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the number of Canadians experiencing homelessness amid the second wave of the pandemic is a concern for them.
“Now that the pandemic has made housing needs more acute, we are stepping up again,” Trudeau said. “Our largest cities face a growing need for affordable housing, we’re investing $500 million for immediate support for long-term housing for municipalities that have the highest demand.”
The announcement comes a month after the federal government said $1 billion will be going towards the Rapid Housing Initiative to help address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians. The goal is to create 3,000 more affordable housing units.
Trudeau said $500 million will be equally split between the “major cities stream,” which includes municipalities that have the highest level of renters and largest amount of homelessness.
The major cities include: Quebec City, London, Hamilton, Region of Waterloo, Halifax, Calgary, Region of Peel, Montreal, Winnipeg, Surrey, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto and Capital Regional District (British Columbia).
Canada’s biggest city, Toronto, will get the lion’s share of that funding pie with about $203 million.
The funding will go towards the cities in the “next couple of days,” Ahmed Hussen, minister of families, children and social development, said at the media conference.
Hussen said another $500 million will be up for grabs for projects that will have to be completed within 12 months of federal officials giving the green light for funding.
Hussen has previously said he hopes to have most of the money spent before March 2021, when the federal fiscal year ends.
— With files from the Canadian Press