Unlocking the door to more than 400 homes across Canada
November 16, 2022
AT A GLANCE
- CMHC had been searching for ways to help Habitat for Humanity create more affordable homes across Canada.
- The National Housing Strategy enabled CMHC and Habitat for Humanity Canada to collaborate on a groundbreaking $32.4 million, 3-year partnership.
- The partnership will help to create 414 new homes for families across Canada.
Jodielynn is nervous and excited. The sun catches the sparkles on her daughter’s princess outfit as she runs across the yard to join Jodielynn on the front steps of their new home.
Next door, Jim and Tara arrive with their 3 children. Tara has baked cookies and she hands a platter to Jodielynn.
This is more than a friendly day in the neighbourhood. The families have gathered with the Habitat for Humanity Niagara community to celebrate the completion of homes that they helped to build.
“Key Ceremonies mark a huge milestone in the lives of Habitat for Humanity families,” says Glenn Furlong, CMHC’s key account manager for Habitat for Humanity Canada. “They bring together a community to mark the hard work and contribution of families, volunteers, and donors.”
Glenn attended his first key ceremony 7 years ago.
Habitat for Humanity Canada
- With the help of volunteers, donors and Habitat homeowners, local Habitats in every province and territory across Canada build and rehabilitate quality, affordable homes, from single-family houses to multi-unit developments.
- Habitat homeowners volunteer 500 hours and pay an affordable mortgage – geared to their income – to buy their home.
- The Habitat for Humanity model bridges a gap for people who face barriers to homeownership and would not otherwise qualify for a traditional mortgage.
“I will never forget the family’s little boy,” says Glenn. “He was about 7 or 8 years old and gave us a tour of his new home. His face lit up when he showed us his first very own bedroom.”
“Seeing a family’s joy as they become homeowners makes our work so incredibly fulfilling and worthwhile.”
Shortly after the event he was approached by Habitat for Humanity Cabot, now part of Habitat for Humanity Newfoundland and Labrador, to become a board member. It was the first step toward a stronger relationship between CMHC and Habitat.
The National Housing Strategy has been an absolute game changer
“Affordable homeownership truly resonates with me, and Habitat is such a dedicated, creative partner,” says Glenn “They are always looking for new ways to create affordable homeownership.”
Window of opportunity
CMHC has been a long-time supporter of Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership model but it wasn’t until 5 years ago that the organization was able to take this support to the next level.
“The National Housing Strategy has been an absolute game changer,” explains Glenn.
“We were looking for ways to help Habitat build more homes so that they would have a bigger impact across Canada. And then a whole new window of opportunity opened.”
The National Housing Co-Investment Fund was launched to help create new affordable housing as well as repair and renew existing affordable and community housing.
The challenge was that the fund targeted multi-unit (5 units or more) rental housing projects. Habitat for Humanity projects are smaller, usually less than 5 units, and geared towards homeownership.
“Our role is to make it work,” says Glenn. “That’s where the concept of a portfolio agreement came into play. Fitting Habitat’s model into the NHCF criteria becomes possible when you group several projects together instead of looking at individual projects.”
CMHC and Habitat’s collective investments in these homes aren’t just investments in housing – they are investments in the social and economic well-being of families and their communities
In 2019, after several months of hard work and collaboration, CMHC and Habitat for Humanity Canada announced a $32.4 million, 3-year partnership to enable the creation of 414 new homes for families across Canada.
Since then, 226 families have become homeowners across Canada.
“Homeownership changes lives,” says Julia Deans, president and chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity Canada. “Our wonderful partnership with CMHC is a true collaboration that allows us to help many more families throughout Canada secure equitable access to affordable homeownership.”
“As you can see with today’s event, so much joy comes from this partnership. Affordable homeownership ensures that more families like Jodielynn’s and Tara and Jim’s advance along the path to stability and self-reliance. CMHC and Habitat’s collective investments in these homes aren’t just investments in housing – they are investments in the social and economic well-being of families and their communities.”
The door to a brighter future
The keys to both Jodielynn’s and Jim and Tara’s homes are quietly passed from hand to hand to volunteers, community members, friends and family. Everyone has the opportunity to hold them, quietly sharing their sentiments and good wishes.
Then comes the countdown. Both families hold their breath as they wait to unlock the front door to their very own homes.
“It takes a community to build a home,” says Tara as she thanks everyone for their help and support.
Across the yard, another flash of sparkles as Jodielynn’s daughter dashes through her front door, ready to claim her room and a bright new future.
- In 2019, the Federal Government announced a $32.4M financial commitment over 3 years under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund to Habitat for Humanity Canada and local Habitat for Humanity organizations across Canada.
- 100% of the units will be affordable. Mortgage payments for each unit will be at or below 30% of household income.
- Overall, the units will achieve a minimum 25% reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Projects will target the needs of vulnerable Canadians, including single mothers, Indigenous Peoples, persons with a disability, Veterans, seniors and recent immigrants, with approximately one-third of the new homes dedicated to Black families.
- In December 2020, Habitat for Humanity and the Federal Government announced a new investment of $40 million to create 200 homeownership opportunities for Black Canadian families across the country.
- News release: “Two families get the keys to their new Habitat homes”
- Story: Healing begins at home