City Council to Discuss $ 7 Million + Allocation in ‘Rapid Housing Finance’

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113 Lower Union Street (left) and the former Fairfield Manor West building on Ridley Court (right) are two of three options presented to Kingston City Council as possible projects for the allocation of rapid housing finance recently announced by the federal government. . City of Kingston staff note in the report to Council that more projects may be added before applications are submitted to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for approval. Photos by Cris Vilela.

Just two weeks ago, the city of Kingston received $ 7,418,328 through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Quick Housing Initiative (HRI).

By the end of the month, the City must have all project applications for the use of this funding submitted to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHA).

As such, City staff will present a report to Kingston City Council at ththeir next meeting on Tuesday August 10, 2021, regarding the allocation of these funds.

When the funding was announced, Mayor Bryan Paterson explained that it could be used for new projects, existing projects, or a mix of the two.

“I think that’s what I appreciate the most about the funding we’ve received, is that there is this flexibility. And this is an important point. I mean, I think as cities, you know, we’re always asking for more autonomy and flexibility to make the decisions that are best for us, ”Paterson said on Monday, July 26, 2021.

“[The funding] could go city projects, but [it] can also participate in community projects. So that gives us a better perspective to be able to look at the affordable housing situation, which is really important. Ultimately, we, the City, cannot do it alone. There are many other great community and nonprofit partners working in this same direction. And so being able to work as a community towards the same goals is really great. ”

Asked about the funding stipulations regarding its use, Paterson said he didn’t have all the details in front of him.

“I’m reluctant to give you those details, because I just don’t think I have all of these criteria. But what I can say is, I think, a few things, the first one is definitely… the funds can be split between different projects, ”Paterson said. “And then two, I think this is the time when really… the federal government wants an occupation, like, a year from now, so there’s a very tight timeline. So obviously that’s going to be part of the job on our side – not only understanding what projects are our possibilities, but being sure that we can, we can get [the project(s)] completed within this time frame, as some projects will obviously take longer.

However, these stipulations are included in the report to Council, which comes from the Lanie Hurdle City CAO office, supported by Ruth Noordegraaf, Director of Housing and Social Services.

“This funding will only be granted if the City can submit projects that meet all of CMHC’s criteria. City staff must respond quickly to submit these project requests by August 31, 2021 and eligible projects must be occupied within 12 months of signing an agreement, ”the report’s summary reads.

“The RHI program has specific criteria related to the target tenant population, affordable rent level and type of project. City staff identified concerns about the criteria and the improbability that new construction, especially multi-residential, could meet the required deadlines. “

The report goes on to say that the City’s allocation of RHI funding is necessary to create a minimum of 28 “new affordable units, and funded units must be affordable for a period of at least 20 years”. The City is able to appoint “intermediary bodies” to operate the units, however, “the City is responsible for the project meeting the program requirements for the duration of 20 years, including financial viability”.

The report then lists the following as “an overview of key criteria for projects to be supported through” the funds:

  • Funded projects must support the creation of new permanent affordable housing units, including standard rental housing, permanent transitional housing with supportive services, single rooms and senior housing.
  • Eligible projects include the construction of new rental housing, the conversion / rehabilitation of a non-residential building into affordable housing and the acquisition of an existing residential building in poor condition or abandoned in order to restore it to habitability. .
  • Projects should aim to serve households and / or people who would otherwise be in urgent need of housing (i.e. paying more than 50 percent of their gross income on housing costs) or people in need of housing. homeless or in imminent danger.
  • Tenants of funded units / beds must pay rent not exceeding 30 percent of gross income or the housing subsidy component for welfare recipients.
  • New construction projects must provide housing that is 5% accessible above minimum building code requirements.
  • New construction projects must exceed energy efficiency standards by 5%.
  • Real estate acquisitions that require the eviction of tenants are not eligible for financing.
  • Projects must have a minimum of five units (or beds in collective housing).
  • Projects must provide permanent accommodation (i.e. rentals of more than three months).
  • Funded projects must be able to move forward quickly and be available for occupation within 12 months of signing the agreement.
  • The minimum affordability period for a project is 20 years.

According to the report, due to the time constraints associated with submitting project requests, “staff would report to Council in the fall of 2021 outlining the project request submissions.” This would happen after the requests have already been submitted.

Additionally, the report states that City staff “have formed an interdepartmental team to facilitate project management, procurement, development approvals, real estate, construction and design as necessary” in order to ” accelerate the project identification and development review process ”.

The report provides a brief overview of three potential projects under consideration at this time, but notes that “City staff continue to meet with non-profit housing providers to explore other projects that meet CMHC criteria. . Staff are also exploring options for acquiring potential real estate, which would be the subject of another report to Council. “

The three potential projects considered are:

113 Lower union

An already existing project – and, at one point, the home of the Kingston Youth Shelter during the pandemic – the report states that the funding would be used for “the renovation costs associated with a 19-room collective living center providing affordable housing. and supervised to Aboriginal community members ”, with“ rents to be set at social assistance shelter allowance ”.

805 Ridley Drive

A site already owned by the City, this location – the former home of Fairfield Manor West – had been used by the City as a self-isolation center towards the start of the COVID-19 pandemic for residents without a place to go. isolate. It also became the site of the Kingston Youth Shelter after that shelter was moved during the pandemic.

The report states that this project would include “the potential retrofit costs associated with up to 18 units in the east wing facility; dwellings must be converted into self-contained dwellings ”, with“ rents to be established at social assistance housing allowance or at 30 per cent of the tenant’s gross income ”.

1 Curtis croissant

A currently vacant parcel of land in central Kingston, this property is already considered “social housing land”, according to the report, which said the project would include “construction of a nine-unit infill project.” In terms of affordability, the report states that for this project, rents should “be set at social assistance housing allowance or at 30% of the tenant’s gross income.”

It should be noted that Project 113 Lower Union has already applied for RHI through the federal government without success.

“RHI was part of the federal government’s plan to support economic recovery and create new affordable housing. The City of Kingston did not receive a funding allocation under the Cities component. A project component request from City staff to support renovations at 113 Lower Union Street was not successful. It is understood that the total request for funding under the Projects component was significantly higher than the program budget, ”the report states.

On Tuesday, advisers will receive the following recommendations as part of the report:

  • That Council authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to enter into an agreement with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to receive the Kingston allowance under the Cities component of the Quick Housing Initiative for the creation of new housing affordable; and
  • That Council direct City staff to report to Council in the fall of 2021 confirming the projects that have been submitted for review and approval by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for funding available under the allocation of the Cities component of the Rapid Housing Initiative; and
  • That Council authorize the Director General or his delegate to review and approve all documents and agreements related to the Rapid Housing Initiative described in report number 21-212; and
  • That Council authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to sign all documents and agreements relating to the Rapid Housing Initiative described in report number 21-212, in a form satisfactory to the Director of Legal Services.

Full details on the next City Council meeting (Tuesday August 10, 2021), including a link to watch the meeting live online, are available here.


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