Cranbrook, BC (September 11, 2023) – A grant application by the City of Cranbrook to the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), if successful could amount to potentially millions of dollars to help with initiatives to contribute to the development of affordable housing.
On Monday night, staff updated Council on the grant application and the impact this funding could have on helping the City meet its new housing needs targets.
The HAF is designed to provide incentive funding (contributions) to local governments to encourage local initiatives that remove barriers to housing supply, accelerate the growth of supply and support the development of complete, low-carbon and climate-resilient communities which are affordable, inclusive, equitable and diverse.
“The grant opportunity is timely as the City is in the process of updating its housing needs assessment which shows that like many communities, we are significantly lacking in affordable housing options for our residents,” says Rob Veg, Manager of Planning for the City. “The updated assessments finding indicates new housing targets in the amount of approximately 1,400 units to meet the City’s housing needs in the next ten years with approximately 900 units being more affordable options based on household incomes and demographics.”
The HAF grant application for large communities requires that applicants prepare an Action Plan with a minimum of seven separate initiatives which outline supply growth targets and the proposed initiatives the municipality will undertake to grow housing supply and speed up housing approvals. Staff presented to Council an action plan for the City that would look to facilitate housing growth, promote “gentle density” and infill, further incentivize the creation and legalization of secondary suites, create opportunities for accessory dwelling units, improve infrastructure and increase the potential for speedier development approvals for affordable housing.
In all, the City has submitted an action plan with seven initiatives that would be required to be completed during the HAF program in order to receive the full funding amount if successful.
“If successful with the application, the funding received would be used to develop a target of approximately 268 dwelling units of those 106 as “affordable rental housing”, established in the City’s application,” Veg says. “While not completely solving the City’s housing needs, it would be a big step towards our new housing needs target.”