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Building more homes that Canadians can afford in Cape Breton / Unama’ki

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Right now, in communities across the country, building 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 agreements with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Membertou First Nation in Nova Scotia to fast-track 367 new housing units over the next three years. This work will help spur the construction of more than 3,286 homes over the next decade and help meet the demand in the region.

Under the Housing Accelerator Fund, these agreements will provide a total of $13.3 million to eliminate barriers to building the housing we need, faster. The first agreement, with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, will create more housing options in the region, including allowing six units as-of-right in serviceable areas, and using pre-approved building plans to fast-track construction, from apartments to six-plexes. The municipality will also focus on building more affordable units and cut construction time and costs by providing financial incentives to builders. In addition, they will build more homes near transit and reduce parking requirements, removing barriers and helping make housing as accessible as possible. Together, these initiatives are going to improve the way affordable housing is built and delivered in the Cape Breton region.

Stable, reliable, and affordable housing is also a fundamental part of our commitment to responding to the needs of Indigenous partners and advancing reconciliation. That is why, under the second agreement, Membertou First Nation will receive more than $1.9 million to support new housing and infrastructure upgrades. The funding will allow Membertou First Nation to recruit housing administration staff and construction managers so that projects get off the ground quicker. The funds will also help complete critical infrastructure work in the community, including improving access to bridges, water, and sewer services.

The Housing Accelerator Fund is helping cut red tape and fast-track the construction of over 600,000 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

“The status quo on home building in this country isn’t working. We need to build more homes and make sure they’re affordable – and we need to do it faster. That’s what today’s announcement in Cape Breton and Membertou First Nation is all about. Let’s get homes built at prices Canadians can afford.”

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

“We are excited and proud to announce these partnerships with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Membertou First Nation today. The funding will help Membertou First Nation scale up operations to build more homes and improve critical infrastructure within the community. And by speeding up permitting, making more municipal lands available to build homes, and paving the way for more affordable ones, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is working to ensure that it has the tools needed to help tackle the housing crisis. We will continue working with cities, towns, mayors, Indigenous partners, 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

“Today marks an investment that will have an immediate impact on housing options across the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. We are grateful for the partnership and support provided by the Government of Canada throughout the Housing Accelerator Fund process. This has resulted in the creation of a Cape Breton Regional Municipality Work Plan that will provide grants for affordable housing projects, an inventory of permitted housing plans, dedicated in-house expertise, and a plan for steady housing growth into the future.”

Her Worship Amanda McDougall, Mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality

“The Housing Accelerator Fund will enable Membertou to build 28 new homes in our community. Thanks to this invaluable program, we will continue our pursuit to provide secure, affordable housing for our people.”

Chief Terry Paul, Chief and Chief Executive Officer, Membertou

Quick Facts

  • As part of its Housing Accelerator Fund agreement, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality will work to streamline the municipal permitting process. This includes the development and implementation of an electronic permitting platform that will streamline construction application processes while reducing paperwork and processing times. The agreement will also proactively tackle climate change and floodplain risks, developing strategies for the effective implementation of relocation and property purchases.
  • 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.
  • With today’s announcement, the Government of Canada has signed 52 agreements since the launch of the Housing Accelerator Fund. Combined, these agreements will fast-track an estimated total of over 600,000 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.

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