This is a joint release with the Government of Canada.
Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Thanks to support from the Government of Canada, the Government of Yukon and the City of Whitehorse, Whitehorse residents will now have access to more rental housing options.
Today, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Ahmed Hussen, alongside the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency) and Member of Parliament for Yukon Larry Bagnell, Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Ranj Pillai, Whitehorse City Councillor Samson Hartland on behalf of Mayor Dan Curtis, and Right On Property Group President Dr. Sammy Hachem announced a $22.2 million investment to build three new rental buildings in Whistle Bend.
Called Boreal Commons, the development is comprised of three buildings, with each three-storey building including four bachelor units, four one-bedroom units and 21 two-bedroom units for a total of 87 new homes.
Eighteen homes at the project will have below market rental rates for at least 25 years and five bachelor units will be reserved for tenants between 18 and 25 years old. Additionally, at least five units will be prioritized for newcomers to Canada, and 18 units constructed with accessible design features to target vulnerable populations, such as seniors or people with mobility challenges.
The project received funding through CMHC’s Rental Construction Financing initiative (RCFi), a National Housing Strategy program that supports rental housing construction projects to encourage a stable supply of rental housing for middle-class families in expensive housing markets.
Our Government is working hard to create more housing options for all Canadians, to ensure everyone has a home that meets their needs. Investments in our growing cities like Whitehorse under the Rental Construction Financing Initiative are crucial, and will help pave the way for a stronger more prosperous middle class. The 87 new homes at Boreal Commons are another example of the National Housing Strategy at work, I look forward to seeing this community continue to grow.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Ahmed Hussen
The Government of Yukon is committed to increasing housing availability by building on our partnerships and making strategic investments in healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities. Through collaborative efforts across all levels of government, we are working to increase options for Yukoners across the housing continuum and throughout the territory. I am excited to see new projects come to fruition and am proud to continue supporting affordable housing construction in the territory.
Minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation Ranj Pillai
The National Housing Strategy’s programs help cities like Whitehorse increase supply of much-needed rental homes. This investment comes at a critical time during the pandemic, keeping good jobs in the community and the regional economy moving here in Whitehorse. This investment at Boreal Commons is another great example of community building, helping Yukoners access safe and affordable housing that meets their needs.
Member of Parliament for Yukon Larry Bagnell
On behalf of Council, I am excited to see more rental housing made available in our community, especially in our fastest-growing neighbourhood. We are proud to contribute to this project through a development incentive and we will continue to work with our government and First Nation partners to help people attain housing across the housing continuum.
Mayor Dan Curtis, City of Whitehorse
We are very proud to be able to provide new affordable rental apartments in Whitehorse. There has not been such a large residential project constructed in the community for more than 30 years. We realize it is only a small drop in the bucket to meet the significant housing needs and much work still needs to be done. We hope that collaboration between different levels of government can be facilitated in the future so that we can all work together to improve housing options in northern Canada. Building in the North presents significant challenges and we want to thank our experienced team at Kobayashi and Zedda Architects, Blackrock Construction, and all their employees who helped make this project a reality.
Right On Property Group President Dr. Sammy Hachem
Yukon Housing Corporation is contributing $500,000 through the third intake of the Housing Initiatives Fund (HIF 3); and $500,000 under the Municipal Matching Rental Construction Grant program (MMRCP).
The City of Whitehorse is contributing development incentives of up to $500,000 over 10 years to the project.
As of October 2020, the vacancy rate in Whitehorse was 2.5 per cent.
Through Rental Construction Financing initiative (RCFi), the Government of Canada is encouraging the construction of more than 71,000 new rental housing units.
A stable supply of rental housing is critical to ensure that more Canadians have access to housing that meet their need and that they can afford. This is a great option for middle class Canadians who are experiencing affordability pressure in many markets with high home prices and lack of rental supply.
Launched in April 2017, the RCFi has generated significant interest in the industry, which has led to an expansion of the program. Through Budget 2019, the Government of Canada increased the total amount available in loans to $13.75 billion.
Given the high demand for the program, the Government again expanded the RCFi in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement by adding an additional $12 billion over 7 years, starting in 2021–22. The program now totals $25.75 billion in low-cost loans.
Budget 2021 proposes that $300 million over two years (2021–22 and 2022–23) from the RCFi be allocated to support the conversion of vacant commercial property into 800 units of market-based rental housing. As the demand for retail and office space has changed due to COVID-19, some landlords, particularly in major urban cores, are facing higher vacancies. This is an opportunity for property owners and communities to explore converting excess space into rental housing, enhancing the livability and affordability of urban communities.
Canada's National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, over $72 billion plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home.
To help Canadians find affordable housing, Budget 2021 proposes to provide an additional $2.5 billion over seven years in new funding and a reallocation of $1.3 billion in previously announced funding to speed up the construction, repair, and support over 35,000 additional housing units.