11/10/2011

The Investing in Affordable Housing Program (IAH) is a federal-provincial cost shared program that will see approximately $481 million dollars available through to 2015.
Good news for Ontario’s municipalities as a new affordable housing agreement is announced. Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Diane Finley and Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Kathleen Wynne, announced the Investing in Affordable Housing Program (IAH) on November 8, 2011. 

The IAH is a federal-provincial cost shared program that will see approximately $481 million dollars available through to 2015. This bilateral agreement arises from the July 2011 federal/provincial/ territorial/ (f/p/t) new Affordable Housing Framework consisting of $1.4 billion in funding across Canada. 

The new framework provides a more flexible approach to addressing affordable housing needs than traditionally existed in previous federal-provincial arrangements. Provinces, and in Ontario’s case, municipalities, have the flexibility to invest in a range of programs and initiatives including; new construction, renovation, home ownership assistance, rent supplements, housing allowances and off reserve aboriginal funding. This approach is consistent with the new legislative and service delivery environment currently being established through Ontario’s Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy-an approach reflecting the service delivery recommendations arising from the 2008 Provincial Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review (PMFSDR). Specifically, that municipalities should have the means to respond to local issues and needs in their communities. 

While the f/p/t Affordable Housing Framework provides funding over three years, Ontario is extending the program over four years. Year 1, (2011-12) has been designed as a transitional year, with no designated funding. However, municipal service managers have the option to access future year funding (up to a maximum of $47 million) to begin design and implementation of identified initiatives. Funding is based on annual allocations and is being provided on a “use it or lose it” basis. Service managers have been provided with details on beginning local planning processes and accessing funding. 

One interesting development under the IAH is the end of the long standing Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP). Since 1973, CMHC has provided funding and administrative support for the delivery of RRAP. RRAP has delivered approximately $36 million annually to Ontario over the last three years and has been instrumental in supporting seniors and low-income families and individuals in maintaining safe, affordable housing. Beginning in year 2 of the IAH program (2012-13) the Ontario Renovates component will encompass elements of the RRAP. 

AMO is pleased that Canada and Ontario reached this important Agreement and will work with its membership and other orders of government to ensure that municipalities have the appropriate framework and resources to provide access to affordable housing for Ontarians in need through the new IAH.