Plans for Federal Housing Funds Will Help Low-Income and Homeless Winnipeggers

Released: November 10, 2023 at 1:31 p.m.

As Winnipeg City Council considers new federal conditions required to qualify for the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF), Mayor Scott Gillingham today cautioned that housing units to help low-income and homeless Winnipeggers are at stake in the debate.

"Winnipeg is growing, and with that comes an increased need for affordable housing,” Gillingham said. “We have big plans to create new affordable and deeply affordable rental units as quickly as possible, through initiatives like the Land Enhancement Office and the Affordable Housing Concierge. But we need to qualify for the Housing Accelerator Fund first.”

In recent weeks, Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser has insisted cities commit to broad zoning changes to encourage moderate density – including allowing four units per lot – before he approves HAF applications. Almost all cities have agreed to these terms.

While these changes are required to unlock federal funds, Winnipeg’s own housing plan is not focused on four units per lot, but on getting more mid-rise rental apartments in strategic urban locations.

Property and Development Chair Sherri Rollins elaborated: "Our strategy is clear. We will use federal funds to enable the development of mid-rise buildings on mall sites, institutional sites, and major commercial corridors. That’s how we’re going to hit our housing targets and provide more affordable options, especially for families and young people.”

Winnipeg’s HAF application outlines a $192 million plan to spark the building of 15,000 net new housing units over the next decade, to improve affordability, address homelessness, and ensure the city has enough homes for current and future residents. 

A recent report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says Manitoba needs 150,000 more housing units by 2030 to keep pace with growth. As the province’s primary population, employment and immigration hub, most of that inventory will be required in Winnipeg.

Gillingham’s motion to adopt the federal requirements is expected to reach City Council on November 23, 2023.  

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