Announcing additional funding for the Rapid Housing Initiative
Thank you Deirdre for that introduction, and for everything you do for the community as President and CEO of Shepherds of Good Hope.
I’m looking forward to visiting the new units that are being built here in Kanata that will allow you to help even more vulnerable people.
It’s great to be here with you, Minister Hussen, and Mayor Watson, for this important announcement today.
And I’m glad Councillor Hubley could join us, as well. This pandemic has laid bare gaps and inequalities in our society that we must continue to address.
That includes the fact that far too many people do not have a roof over their head, and that’s why we’re here this afternoon.
Because we know that building a safer, more resilient Canada starts by making sure that everyone has a safe place to call home.
Since 2015, our government has made unprecedented investments in housing across the country.
And last year, we saw that the pandemic made the need even more urgent.
We saw the challenges and the devastation caused by this crisis, and we knew we had to act quickly. So we set up the Rapid Housing Initiative.
When we launched the Rapid Housing Initiative last year, we projected it would create up to 3,000 affordable housing units right across the country.
Well in March, we exceeded expectations and that number became over 4,700 new units.
Well today, we’re reaching even higher.
We’re investing an additional $1.5 billion in the Rapid Housing Initiative for a total of over 9,200 new homes for Canadians who need it most.
That means thousands of people with a safe place to stay.
Thousands of people for whom life will get brighter.
We’re doing what it takes to make sure that everyone gets a roof over their head.
Today, we are investing an extra $1.5 billion to create additional affordable housing units for those who need them.
With this new investment in the Rapid Housing Initiative, our initial objective of 3,000 housing units increases to over 9,200 new, affordable homes for the most vulnerable people.
Here in Kanata, construction on the Hope Living project I am going to visit this afternoon is already underway.
Thanks to the new investments through our program, the first floor of the facility will be converted to create new housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, specifically seniors or members of Indigenous communities.
Housing is an essential need.
So we’re going to keep going. We’re going to continue our efforts to end chronic homelessness in this country, because everyone deserves to have a safe and affordable place to call home. What we saw during the pandemic is that there’s a lot of work to be done, and together with partners like Mayor Watson, and organizations like Shepherds of Good Hope, we’re going to continue doing that work.
The Rapid Housing Initiative is about real, positive outcomes for real people.
We made a promise to end chronic homelessness in Canada in the coming years.
Programs like this are concrete steps to do just that.
This is about supporting those experiencing homelessness – or who are at risk of homelessness.
It’s about creating safe and affordable places to live for women and children who are fleeing violence. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a shadow pandemic on top of COVID-19, of violence against women - gender-based violence - increase over this past year as people are forced to stay home to be stay safe in homes that aren’t always safe.
It’s also about ensuring that we’re there for seniors, for Indigenous peoples, for people with disabilities, for racialized Canadians, for refugees, and people from LGBTQ2 communities who are at higher risks of vulnerability. They need extra support sometimes, particularly in times of crisis. That’s what our government continues to be focused on, and today is another example.
For a different example, one of the ongoing projects to receive funding through the Rapid Housing Initiative is a partnership with Atira Women’s Resource Society in Surrey, B.C.
They’re developing a modular housing apartment that will serve women experiencing homelessness, including Indigenous women, trans and two-spirit women, and women who are struggling with substance abuse.
One of the most important, transformative things that a government can do is invest in housing.
My friend Adam Vaughan often points out that housing isn’t just a problem, it’s also a solution.
Because with a roof over their heads, people can live a better life.
They can get a good job and support their family.
It’s good for our communities. It’s good for our economy.
It creates – and supports – good construction jobs, but mostly it creates opportunities for everyone.
And it’s part of our plan to create one million jobs to drive Canada’s recovery.
Building back better is about making our communities safer, and our economy stronger.
It’s also about making sure that no one is left behind.
With today’s announcement, we are continuing our efforts to create more affordable housing, and more jobs for the middle class - critical building blocks for our recovery and our future.
And we are moving closer to our objective of eliminating chronic homelessness in Canada.
Before I finish today, I want to say a few words about the heat wave in Western Canada.
The temperatures recorded this week are unprecedented – lives have been lost and the risk of wildfires is at a dangerously high level.
Our thoughts are with people who’ve lost loved ones.
Yesterday, I spoke with Premier Horgan of British Columbia.
Minister Blair spoke with Minister Farnworth of B.C.
The federal government, as always, is here to help in any way that we can.
But today, for the coming days, let’s continue to make sure we’re there for one another.
So check in with your neighbors to make sure the senior in your building is doing well, check in with your loved ones.
We’ve seen more and more of this type of extreme weather event in the past years.
So realistically, we know that this heat wave won’t be the last.
That’s why investing in good, safe housing for the most vulnerable is so important.
I also want to highlight the fact that our new climate legislation was passed by the Senate yesterday.
This legislation ensures that the Government of Canada will meet its commitments and targets to reduce emissions until our country achieves carbon neutrality.
To help us reach net-zero, yesterday, our government announced that 100% of car and passenger truck sales will be required to be zero-emission by 2035.
This will mean less pollution, and more innovation.
We know that this is where countries around the world are already going.
So as we already have with automakers in Ontario and elsewhere, we’re going to continue to work with industry partners to position Canada as a global leader for electric vehicles and clean energy.
Together, we will make our air and our economy cleaner, for now and for future generations.
On the eve of Canada Day, the horrific discoveries of hundreds of children at the sites of former residential schools in B.C. and in Saskatchewan have forced us to reflect on the historic and ongoing injustices that Indigenous peoples have faced.
Our government continues to be there to acknowledge the truth so that we can chart a better path forward in the spirit of reconciliation.
Today, I also want to talk about the arson and vandalism we’re seeing across the country targeted at Catholic Churches.
This is not the way to go.
The destruction of places of worship is unacceptable and it must stop.
We must work together to right past wrongs. Everyone has a role to play, not just institutions and organizations, but all Canadians – Indigenous and non-Indigenous. We need to take tomorrow – yes, to celebrate the country that we are, but also to reflect on all the work we need to continue to do. And to understand with respect and compassion that some of our fellow Canadians don’t feel like celebrating tomorrow, and we need to pledge to ourselves and to all Canadians that we will be part of working together to build a better future for generations to come.
We will work together to right past wrongs, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.