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On April 31, 2005, the Ontario and federal governments signed a new affordable housing agreement, but the details were still being worked out. On August 31, the governments announced an allocation of the first wave of funding, which consists of $322M to create 5,320 new units of affordable housing, and $80M to create up to 5,000 housing allowance / rent supplements (of which 500 units are set aside for victims of domestic violence).

The design of the new Affordable Housing Program is expected to be completed before the end of 2005. In the interim, $24M of the $322M for new units has been set aside to fast track the development of up to 500 affordable housing units that are ready for construction.

The housing allowance / rent supplement funding was allocated to municipalities based on their share of the province’s rental households in core need. Participating municipal service managers will undertake a competitive selection process to choose participating landlords. For a list of allocations by municipality, or to view the full announcement, go to www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/News/nere/2005/2005-08-31-1000.cfm.

We understand that the Provincial housing authorities would like flexibility about how they spend the money on rent supplements. However, due to limits decided on earlier by the Federal Cabinet, the Federal negotiators (from CMHC), and the Department of Finance, insisted on terms that:

- require vacant units (so no in-situ supplements);
- require the money to be spent in 5 years (so no housing trusts or endowments); and
- require the money to be paid to landlords not tenants (so no portable housing allowances).

We understand that these limits will not necessarily be part of the rent supplement or housing allowance tools in the new Housing Framework toolkit, which is now being developed.

CMHC Housing Studies in Progress

a) Lowing Income Housing Tax Credit

CMHC has commissioned a study to develop alternative design options for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) in Canada. It will look at the US LIHTC as the base option. Changes to the design of the US LIHTC would be needed to adapt it to the Canadian context, for the income tax treatment of rental real estate, the social housing environment and the structure of the real estate development industry. The study will also assess from a qualitative perspective, and when possible from an empirical perspective, the impacts and ultimate viability of each design and its implications, especially for government costs. This project report is expected to be released in late 2005.

b) Issues and Strategies for Shared Accommodation

CMHC has also commissioned a study to determine what strategies could facility a shared housing arrangement, considering that sharing accommodation is a good economic strategy for low-income single tenants. Within the larger research question, there are two objectives for this research:

1. For low-income single people who do not require supportive housing, identify barriers to shared housing, and strategies to successfully facilitate sharing in order to increase housing affordability.

2. For supportive housing providers and tenants, examine the factors which facilitate informal sharing, and identify

(a) practices which could be adopted by supportive housing providers, and
(b) factors which are difficult to replicate in supportive housing.
CFAA-FCAPI E-News - September 2005 In this edition:

New CFAA website

2005 Housing Framework Consultation – Final Report Released

Portable Housing Allowances – Current CFAA Campaign

Ontario Rent Supplement Announcement – August 31, 2005

CMHC Housing Studies in Progress
    a) Lowing Income Housing Tax Credit
    b) Issues and Strategies for Shared Accommodation




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New CFAA website

Thanks to ECOM Media Group, the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations - Fédération Canadienne Des Associations De Propriétaires Immobiliers (CFAA-FCAPI) now has an enhanced website. Please check it out at www.cfaa-fcapi.org.



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2005 Housing Framework Consultation – Final Report Released

The final report on the Housing Framework Consultation has been issued. It is quite positive on both housing allowances and income tax issues, and reflects the input which CFAA and our member associations provided.

The report is available at http://www.homelessness.gc.ca/consultations/cfdocs/ final_cf_doc_e.pdf . Click here for a 2 page summary highlighting the content positive for the private rental housing sector.

Minister Fontana is also establishing an advisory board “to discuss and share ideas as we work towards creating the Canadian Housing Framework.” He has invited John Dickie to become a member of advisory board as CFAA-FCAPI President.

Milton Bogoch (a past President of CFAA-FCAPI from Calgary), and the Canadian Home Builders Association have been invited to join the advisory board. If any of you, or anyone you know, has been asked to join the advisory board, please e-mail John Dickie at president@cfaa-fcapi.org.





Portable Housing Allowances – Current CFAA Campaign

As previously reported, CMHC will be issuing its study of the design of a program of housing allowances in the coming months, possibly in September or October. The study is being conducted by an excellent team led by Abt Associates and including Marion Steele. Marion Steele is an economist who has studied the Quebec housing allowance program. Her paper on the design of the Quebec program can be viewed at www.economics.uoguelph.ca/faculty/quehab.pdf. CFAA-FCAPI will continue to communicate with CMHC about that study.

Since the study may be released soon, it is a top priority for CFAA-FCAPI and our member associations to marshal public support for a permanent National Housing Allowance program. Within the next few weeks CFAA-FCAPI will provide your association with a PowerPoint presentation to promote housing allowances. Please let your CFAA representative know of any speaking opportunities you learn about so that your Association can help in CFAA-FCAPI’s National campaign for a permanent National Housing Allowance program. For a list of CFAA-FCAPI board members, go to www.cfaa-fcapi.org.

Ontario Rent Supplement Announcement – August 31, 2005