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Lethbridge City Council supports Rapid Housing Initiatives

Three local organizations could soon be in a position to help with affordable housing needs in the community thanks to the unanimous support of City Council. 

Council conditionally approved up to $4.97 million in municipal funding requests in an effort to capitalize on the Federal Government's Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) program. The money could be used to leverage up to $38.89 million for the proposed projects. 

Three organizations will receive municipal funding from Council to enhance the strength of their applications for proposed projects that would each add affordable and social housing units in Lethbridge. Council has conditionally approved: 

  • $1,970,240 of the Blackfoot Family Lodge's total project cost of $4,925,600  
  • $1.5 million of the Blood Tribe Housing's total project cost of $14 million 
  • $1.5 million of MyCityCare Lethbridge's total project cost of $19,968,571   

All municipal funding is conditional upon each project receiving RHI funding. If a project does not receive RHI funding, the municipal funds would be available for future housing projects. 

"This is an enormous opportunity to create housing for low-income residents and help Lethbridge close the gap in affordable housing in our community," says Mayor Blaine Hyggen. "If successful, these projects would also create additional jobs in the community through construction activities, as well as operation, management and maintenance of the future properties and future tax generation." 

The next step in the process will require the organizations to submit their applications to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for consideration. 

"Projects must meet a number of eligibility criteria to apply to the RHI program," says Andrew Malcolm, Urban Revitalization Manager. "Applications will then be prioritized for funding based on a number of factors such as cost sharing with municipal funding, community need, land status and project target demographic. City Council's support helps to strengthen the applications which we hope will mean more housing for our community." 

The City's conditional $4,970,240 would be funded with $3.5 million from item D-32 Affordable Housing 2022-2031 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget, $919,048 from the Affordable Housing Capital Grant Program and $551,192 from funding held in reserve as matching funds for future projects from the 2022-2031 CIP. 

The deadline for organizations to apply for the CMHC's third round for RHI funding is March 15. Organizations that have a capital funding commitment from a source other than RHI (i.e. municipal or Provincial funding) will have an improved chance of success in receiving funding from the RHI program. 

As per Council's resolution, Mayor Hyggen will also provide letters of support for each project and City funding is to be provided upon confirmation of successful RHI approval and subject to the execution of a third-party contribution agreement in a form satisfactory to the City Manager. 

Projects in Lethbridge will be able to apply to the "Project Stream" portion of RHI which has $1 billion in funding available. Proposed projects must be able to be completed before January 1, 2025. 

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