New Lending Program Supports Affordable Housing
The Province is introducing a new lending program to help non-profit organizations keep and increase affordable housing units. This is the first provincial lending program that helps non-profit organizations purchase existing rental units.
Through the Community Housing Acquisition Program (CHAP), community housing providers can access up to $10 million in repayable loans to support the purchase of existing rental units.
Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr announced the first investment under the program today, July 13.
The Province provided a low-interest $5.6-million mortgage to the Housing Trust of Nova Scotia to help purchase five existing rental properties, including one at 18 Crown Dr., where the announcement took place. The investment will prevent the potential loss of 295 existing affordable housing units across Halifax Regional Municipality.
“We heard about some of the challenges non-profits face when they see an opportunity to invest in affordable housing, and this new lending program will help preserve and increase affordable housing stock for people and families in need,” said Minister Lohr. “We have seen rental properties purchased by investors and heard the stories of rents being increased out of reach for existing tenants. This program not only prevents further gentrification and loss of affordable housing but also ensures tenants can continue to live in their homes.”
The creation of the program fulfills the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission recommendation to help non-profit housing providers finance the acquisition of low-end of market rental properties at risk of being converted to high-end development.
To qualify for funding under CHAP, a provider must be a registered non-profit organization in Nova Scotia and must have appropriate management experience operating rental housing projects of similar size and scope. If it does not, it must acquire professional property management services. More information about the application process is available at: https://housing.novascotia.ca/programs/community-housing-acquisition-program
Financing is available for a term of up to 30 years at fixed interest rates.
All three orders of government, the private sector and the community sector have responsibility for addressing the housing crisis. Today’s announcement demonstrates the art of the possible when we all work together to find solutions.
Mike Savage, Mayor, Halifax Regional Municipality
The community housing sector can play a significant role in providing affordable housing options across the province. Without government support and this new lending program, we would not have been able to purchase these properties and make sure residents continue to have a safe, affordable place to call home. Efforts to facilitate the sector's capacity to build or acquire units are key to long-term housing affordability. There are a number of private property owners interested in selling to non-profit organizations like the Housing Trust of Nova Scotia. The Community Housing Acquisition Program will help us move quickly when these opportunities arise, thereby enhancing our ability to create a legacy of community-based affordable housing.
Ross Cantwell, President, Housing Trust of Nova Scotia
I was so relieved to hear that the Housing Trust has taken over ownership of the building. So many Nova Scotians are concerned about the rising costs of renting, particularly in Halifax, so I’m grateful that my building is now owned by a group who are making efforts to help solve this issue.
Trisha Estabrooks, tenant
- CHAP provides up to 95 per cent loan-to-value financing to community housing providers to support the purchase of existing rental properties
- 100 per cent financing will be available for supportive housing projects that receive operating funding from the Department of Community Services
- priority will be given to applicants who demonstrate financial viability, capacity to manage the properties and tenants, readiness for acquisition, proportion of affordable units obtained compared to financing requested and demonstrated short- and long-term market demand
- residential care facilities, student residences or long-term care facilities do not qualify for CHAP
Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality Act: https://nslegislature.ca/sites/default/files/legc/statutes/housing%20in%20the%20hrm.pdf
A Healthy Nova Scotia: Solutions for Housing and Homelessness: https://beta.novascotia.ca/documents/solutions-housing-and-homelessness/
Affordable Housing Commission recommendations: https://beta.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/documents/1-2679/charting-new-course-affordable-housing-nova-scotia-en.pdf
Mandate letter of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: https://novascotia.ca/exec_council/letters-2021/ministerial-mandate-letter-2021-MAH-EMO-MR.pdf