The Capital Regional District (CRD) is getting a piece of Ottawa’s new $1 billion program to create permanent affordable housing.
A total of $13.1 million will be given to the CRD from the first stream of Ottawa’s new Rapid Housing Initiative, boosting their regional housing first program that has already allocated $120 million for up to 2,000 units.
“What it allows for is the CRD work with local governments to identify projects that we can advance quickly,” said CRD board chair Colin Plant.
“The government has asked for proposals and projects within one month for now. Once we have that approved, we will advance on that as quickly as we can.”
That means in the next few months rapid housing could emerge to help the region, from buildings being purchased and converted, or partnerships with others, even land being bought or given to create modular housing.
“We are going to see somewhere to 50 to 250 additional units [from the funding], but it all depends on the model we use,” Plant said.
The Liberal government’s billion dollars aims to create 3,000 permeant and affordable units across the country.
Greater Victoria’s Collation to End Homelessness says the pandemic is finally speeding up community-focused solutions for the long term issue.
“It’s huge… homelessness as part of our multiple crises we are dealing with. We [have been talking] about opioid, COVID and homelessness and the homelessness crisis,” said coalition executive director Kelly Roth.
“Homelessness has been a crisis for a long time, and it starts to move us into intentional planning and thinking and responding.”
She says the organization is extremely grateful for the additional help.
But the problem is a complex one. Late last night there was a stabbing at a temporary housing facility in the 3000-block of Douglas Street.
“We need to ensure the type of housing we provide will also allow people to get the mental health supports they need along with the physical health supports they need,” added Plant.
The CRD is also applying for the next stream of funding in the coming months. They will try to get some of the next 500 million to help lift more off the streets for good.