Regina, Ottawa to partner on more 'deeply affordable' rapid housing units

CBC News

Jessie Anton · CBC News · Posted: Feb 13, 2023

The federal government has announced it's providing the City of Regina $6.6 million from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to put toward another rapid housing initiative project.

According to Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister of housing, diversity and inclusion, the money will be used for at least 25 "rapidly built and deeply affordable" homes for people transitioning away from homelessness and reintegrating into the community, including families. 

"We will ensure that folks who need housing the most — the most vulnerable members of our community — can get the housing they need so that they can build the lives they deserve," Hussen said in Monday's virtual news conference. 

"Deeply affordable homes contribute to the overall impact on addressing the needs of the marginalized citizens of our community," Regina Mayor Sandra Masters added.

Masters said the exact location for these units — and which organization will be operating them — is still to be determined, noting the city is currently reviewing proposals. The RHI application plans are due by March 15 with the project required to be completed by November 2024. 

According to RHI guidelines, cities are encouraged to work with Indigenous-led organizations and at least 25 per cent of funding must be targeted to women and/or women and their children. 

Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen, CEO of the YWCA Regina, said having more affordable housing units set aside specifically for women is a win for the community. 

"We know that women and gender-diverse folks are experiencing the most significant housing need in Canada, so to have funding programs bring a requirement of a gendered response is really fantastic," she said.

Coomber-Bendtsen added she hopes that wherever these homes are built that they're close to services and support centres — including schools, child care and grocery stores. 

Regina is one of 41 cities across Canada to receive the federal funding for the third round of the initiative.

In July 2021, another $7.75 million in RHI funding was awarded to the City of Regina for 29 affordable housing units. These units — located at 120 Broad St. — will be operated by Regina Treaty/Status Indian Services and are slated to be move-in ready by September.