Funding to go toward helping communities overcome supply challenges, harsh climate, short construction season
The federal government announced up to $80 million in funding to address housing supply chain issues in northern and remote communities.
Ahmed Hussen, federal minister of housing and diversity and inclusion, made the announcement Wednesday morning during a virtual news conference along with Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal and Yukon MP Brendan Hanley.
“The barriers created by the climate and by the distance are immense, and so are the costs, but they are not insurmountable,” said Vandal.
Hussen said the funding will go toward “solutions to address how communities can overcome long distances to get supplies, and the impact of a harsh climate, short construction season.”
Hussen added the funding – which is for all types of housing, including temporary, transitional and permanent – will help communities adjust in the face of the high cost of materials and skilled labour.
It’s directed at supply chain professionals as well as governments, groups and organizations, including First Nations, who work at developing housing.
“They all have access to this money and it is really about making sure that communities can access the necessary materials and resources to build, operate and maintain housing,” added Hussen.
Housing needs continue to increase
In the 2021 Northern Housing report released last November, the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Association found that the need for new, affordable and quality housing throughout the territories continues to rise — in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government said there isn’t a single solution to address the increasing need of housing or the rising level of homelessness.
It said it committed $300 million over five years in the 2019 budget to help municipalities grow their housing supply through a new program called the Housing Supply Challenge (HSC). The funding announced Wednesday is the third round of funding, specifically targeted to northern and remote communities, from that program.
In the first round of funding, up to $25 million will be shared among 14 different groups who pitched ideas to address gaps in housing data.
In the second round, 29 groups have been shortlisted to share in up to $40 million that will be distributed for “proposed solutions that improve affordable housing pre-development processes,” said the federal government in a news release.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Yukon gov’t announces eight affordable housing projects, CBC News
Finland: Report highlights Finland’s top 5 housing problems, Yle News
Norway: Population declining in Arctic Norway, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Abandoned properties a challenge for rural Sweden, Radio Sweden
United States: Budget cuts threaten transitional housing program in Alaska’s largest city, Alaska Public Media