Posts Tagged ‘CMHC’

Protecting housing and human rights without limiting options

September 28th, 2017 by Michael Hackl

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Canada has been facing a housing crisis for a number of years now, with rising costs affecting both homeowners and tenants. According to the Canadian Rental Housing Index, renters in Canada are spending an average of 22 per cent of their before-tax income on rent and utilities. Further, this index reported that 40 per cent of renter households were spending more than 30 per cent of their before-tax income on rent and utilities, and a staggering 19 per cent were spending over 50 per cent of their before-tax income on rent and utilities. Keep in mind that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) defines affordable housing as housing that costs less than 30 per cent of before-tax household income. This means that almost half of renter households in Canada are not in affordable housing, and one in five homes are spending over half of their before-tax income just to have a roof over their heads.

Imagine then, the relief that a family in Vancouver must have felt on being told that they had reached the top of a waiting list for a two-bedroom apartment that would have resulted in a significant reduction in their housing costs if they had been offered the unit. Unfortunately for them, the housing provider did not offer them the unit. At the time that the family was told that they were first on the waiting list, the family consisted of two parents and a two-year-old son, but the mother was seven months pregnant (and has since given birth to a baby girl). According to a voicemail left by a representative of the housing provider, they could not offer the family the unit because they did not know the sex of their then unborn child. For its part, the housing provider has said that the family was not being considered for the unit in any event, but the family feels they were passed over for this apartment because they have two young children of different sexes and the housing provider was unwilling to offer them a unit where those two children would share a bedroom.

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Update on CMHC’s reno/retro program

September 6th, 2017 by Celia Chandler

In its 2016 budget, the federal government announced a renovate and retrofit (reno/retro) program of forgivable loans administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).  CMHC issued a one‑time call for applications in June 2016 and made its final decisions on applications in June 2017.   Not surprisingly, the demand for funding greatly outstripped the available funds; we’re told that highest priority was given to projects in greatest financial need for work that addresses the risk of losing units (due to health and safety issues, regulatory or legislated requirements). By now, those who were lucky enough to be given the nod are busy working towards starting their projects quickly – all funds are to be spent by Nov 30, 2017.

We’re busy helping many with the paperwork to register these forgivable loans as mortgages on the title to their property.  If you’re a housing provider looking for legal support on these, please give us a call.

Expiring co-op housing operating agreements: An opportunity for housing innovation

September 25th, 2014 by Celia Chandler

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) operating agreements with non‑profit housing co‑operatives and rental housing providers have begun to expire across Canada at a rapid rate. These agreements with their related mortgages, entered into under various federal programs between 1970 and 1994, supply housing providers with between 25 and 40 years of annual subsidy money to provide reduced monthly charges to a specified percentage of tenants and members who qualify for support. With the conclusion of these agreements and their related mortgages, housing providers will cease making mortgage payments, but at the same time, they will no longer receive housing subsidy payments — payments that subsidize some 200,000 households in Canada comprising half a million people. While not all subsidized housing providers in Canada get their subsidies through CMHC operating agreements, the potential loss is a big blow to the sector. This, on top of an already serious affordable housing shortage, is cause for concern.

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