Surplus federal properties eyed for affordable housing

The government of Canada has announced plans to repurpose surplus federal properties into new affordable housing.

Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of Families, Children and Social Development and minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and Carla Qualtrough, minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility and minister responsible for Canada Lands Company, made the announcement on Monday.

“Being able to leverage surplus federal properties and lands is an effective way to create new housing and also breathe new life into properties that have been untouched for years or decades," said Duclos.

Called the Federal Lands Initiative, the project will allocate $200 million over the next 10 years through the National Housing Strategy to support the transfer of the surplus properties to eligible proponents at heavily discounted rates or no cost. A competitive process for five properties located across three provinces has begun accepting proposals from housing developers to create affordable housing.

“Through innovative projects like the Federal Lands Initiative, we are providing communities across Canada the opportunity to build much-needed housing options so that everyone has a safe, affordable and accessible place to call home," said Qualtrough.

The properties are located in Ottawa, Ontario, Montreal and Sherbrooke in Quebec, and St. John’s, Newfoundland. These properties were evaluated based on location, suitability, availability, proximity to amenities and through a cost/benefit analysis.

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