Temporary Rental Assistance: Welcome news!

Feb 16, 2021 | Info Centre News, Other News

On February 1, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation announced the creation of a new financing source, the Temporary Rental Assistance support. Faced with very tight delays — just one month from the TRA launch and the application deadline on March 1, 2020 — the Centre was asked to search for and assist potentially eligible non-profit organizations to prepare their applications. Here are a few of the good news stories that our project consultants would like to share with the Centre’s friends and followers.

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Photo: Josephine Pon, Alberta Minister of Seniors and Housing, meets with residents of Bowside Manor in January 2020.

TRA will relieve pressure on some overwhelmed orgs

The Bowside Manor is a low-income housing high-rise operated by the Calgary Chinatown Development Association. When their previous CMHC agreement expired, they were committed to ensuring their occupants — many of whom are seniors from the Chinese community who have longstanding relationships in the area — didn’t have to bear the weight of resulting rent hikes. That’s when the Association decided to bridge the gap with their own funding, which they have done ever since. They were elated this month when the Centre brought them news of the Temporary Rental Assistance program. The TRA, even if temporary, will help reduce the pressure on their own financial reserves and allow the Association to invest in other areas of the building.

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Unexpected dividends for some NPOs

Trying to find all of the non-profit buildings that can benefit from the Temporary Rental Assistance initiative is one of the huge hurdles that Centre staff have had to face, with incomplete or outdated records potentially letting some eligible properties fall through the cracks. For the Canadian Mental Health Association, however, having one of its numerous properties on the list allowed it to discover that yet another of their projects was also eligible to file for a TRA subsidy. So, sometimes, good news really can strike twice.

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The Centre’s standing by to help

Grant applications often come with instructions, but how many come with instructors?! With short deadlines and sometimes complicated data requirements, many groups are hugely relieved to discover that the Centre’s project consultants are here to help them with the TRA process, right up until deadline day … and beyond! Alberta’s Métis Urban Housing Corporation, for example, had to assemble its own team to put together the cases for over 100 of their units, but the Centre’s Louise Casemore is there as a key information resource for any team member who needs help. In addition to helping groups get the job done right in very short order, “a lot of what we are offering is moral support,” she adds.

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Better luck … this time!

Louise Casemore is one of the Centre’s project consultants for the CMHC’s Temporary Rental Assistance initiative.

Publicity around the TRA has attracted a lot of new attention to the Centre, including from many groups that discover, to their regret, that they aren’t eligible for the rent subsidy. Some, however, “discovered that they are very eligible for other grants that the Centre offers,” project consultant Louise Casemore says with a wry grin. “Seeing their enthusiasm and their huge excitement in learning about the Centre and what it can offer has just been fantastic — going from bad news to great news is amazing.”

Rapid Housing Initiative project proposals surpass expectations — by a lot

Rapid Housing Initiative project proposals surpass expectations — by a lot

A $1-billion federal grant program for the rapid construction of 3,000 units of affordable housing attracted interest from so many groups that hundreds of viable projects won’t make the cut. The possibility of a renewed RHI program has led housing groups to propose improvements to the hugely popular initiative in anticipation of a second wave of construction to meet the basic needs of Canadians.

Social housing: a critical resource for vulnerable women

Social housing: a critical resource for vulnerable women

Since the beginning of the pandemic, organizations and researchers working to address domestic violence have been reporting a worsening situation across the country. In the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, the Centre met with Céline Magontier, who oversees women’s issues at the Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), to discuss the increased vulnerability of women when it comes to housing in the context of Covid-19 and the lack of social housing resources.

Parkdale tenants seek community solutions to booming gentrification

Parkdale tenants seek community solutions to booming gentrification

The Parkdale neighbourhood in Toronto is the focus of action-oriented research into changes in the rental market over the past few years. Rent increases, changes in building owners, shifts in the mix of tenants: the project seeks to record the experiences of residents through stories and data in order to come up with solutions from the community.

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