Housing Accelerator Fund

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Housing Accelerator Fund logos

Cities all across Canada are facing significant challenges related to housing affordability and availability. Population growth has led to a rising demand for housing that the current rate of housing construction cannot meet.

The City has developed eight targeted Action Plan Initiatives aimed at speeding up the rate of development and increasing the number of affordable units available in Winnipeg.

The City will modernize zoning rules, increase density near major transit and transportation routes, and incentivize the construction of more housing, including affordable housing units and projects to help people experiencing homelessness.

These initiatives are being made possible through the support of the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF), a national housing program launched in 2023 by the Government of Canada through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

With the support of $122.4 million in HAF funding, the City is required to help create 3,166 additional building permitted housing units than we would normally see, and 14,101 in total over the next three years. This includes at least 931 affordable housing units.

The City is receiving the funding in four annual installments, beginning with $30.6 million in 2023. The remaining installments will require progress on the Action Plan Initiatives and achieving our building permitted housing targets.

Information on the Action Plan Initiatives is outlined below and will be updated as more information is available.

For questions on the HAF program and funding, contact HAF@winnipeg.ca.

Action Plan Initiatives

The Capital Grant Incentive Program is an application-based grant program to provide grants directly to developers to create more housing.

The first round will focus on affordable housing projects and projects Downtown, with $25 million available.

Projects must be creating new housing and demonstrate ability to secure a building permit within one year of approval. Projects must not have secured a building permit prior to December 5, 2023.

Start date

The first round of the Capital Grant Incentive Program launched May 31, 2024.

Applications will be accepted until July 12, 2024. 

Funding

The first phase of grants will be focused on projects in the following categories:

  • Downtown market projects
  • Downtown non-profit/affordable housing
  • Affordable housing projects located outside Downtown

Future rounds may include incentives for projects outside the Downtown, such as near transit corridors.

Evaluation criteria

Projects will be prioritized and evaluated with a point system to determine successful projects and potential support under the program. Projects will be evaluated for their readiness to construct, social impact, financial feasibility and efficiency of funding, as well as planning alignment. 

To submit an application or learn more, visit the HAF Capital Grant Incentive page.

We are streamlining zoning rules to increase housing density, promote infill development, and expand missing middle housing city-wide. These by-law amendments will be implemented starting now through 2025.

Zoning bylaw changes will introduce as-of-right permissions for four units per residential lot, up to four storeys within 800 metres of high-frequency transit, and allow housing on currently designated commercial corridors and mall sites.

Local area plans, or community plans, include local development policies to guide growth and development in a defined area. We use these plans to maintain development policies in areas and neighbourhoods across Winnipeg.

We will update these plans to remove additional barriers to housing development in existing neighbourhoods. This will include a comprehensive review of local area plans to identify constraints. Following this review, Winnipeg will prioritize planning amendments to address these barriers. Plan updates are expected to happen starting in late 2024 through 2025.

We will create a Land Enhancement Office to support the development of affordable, supportive, and mixed-income housing on City-owned land.

This initiative will focus on making land available to non-profit, supportive, and Indigenous housing providers to create affordable housing. Staff and policy framework for the Office are expected to be in place by the end of 2024.

Pre-development plans and studies will make it easier for partners to redevelop sites suitable for missing middle housing. The Office will also identify, acquire, consolidate, and rezone sites for higher-density residential development. Pre-development of sites will occur throughout 2025.

We will create a concierge service to coordinate affordable housing requests and approvals for non-profit organizations, Indigenous organizations, and downtown developers. Implementation of this service is expected in 2024. The concierge will act as a single point of contact to assist these groups plan their applications, communicate considerations at different stages, and help to interpret feedback.

This initiative will increase capacity within the non-profit housing sector to navigate the development process and foster strategic partnerships with Indigenous housing providers and downtown developers.

We will identify where local servicing constraints are a barrier to higher density housing. The City will invite developers to apply for financial assistance for infrastructure upgrades that could otherwise impede development. Through the use of a financial assistance program, we will help developers with upsizing costs associated with upgrading, extending, or installing infrastructure needed for new housing.

It could also include direct investments in infrastructure that will unlock City-owned sites identified for affordable housing redevelopments, which will complement the work of the land enhancement office.

We will continue to improve the digitizing of building permit applications and expand digitized online applications to include all land development and planning applications.

Our online permit application portal will be further enhanced and modernized, with improvements like online appointments and self-service areas.

We are required to put together a housing needs assessment report before the end of 2025 to help guide our HAF Action Plan Initiatives.

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