The Affordable Housing Innovation Fund will be instrumental in creating the next generation of housing in Canada. The application of innovative solutions will be paramount to helping address the challenges facing affordable housing. The Innovation Fund will:

  • support the development of innovative approaches to affordable housing
  • create inclusive and accessible communities
  • contribute to the fight against homelessness

OVERVIEW

The goal of the Innovation Fund is to encourage new funding models and innovative building techniques in the affordable housing sector. We are looking for unique ideas that will revolutionize the affordable housing sector moving forward. In the process, we anticipate that the $200M Fund will help create up to 4,000 new affordable units over 5 years. Additionally, it will reduce reliance on long-term government subsidies. The Fund’s scope of eligible projects includes affordable homeownership, retrofit models and affordable rental projects.

FUNDING AND FINANCING DETAILS

Applicants must demonstrate their overall financing sources to support the level of funding required to ensure project viability. The amount and type of funding will vary based on proposals received and may require security depending on the proposal.

In addition to loans, forgivable loans and contributions, innovative funding with financing options are also available to proponents. These options may include:

  • equity capital investments
  • minority ownership models, dividend payments
  • other innovative funding arrangements

ELIGIBILITY AND REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility

Funding is available to eligible individuals, corporations and organizations that want to build new affordable housing in Canada. It is also available for those who want to repair and renew existing housing in response to a demonstrated community need. Eligible applicants include municipalities, private sector developers and builders, and non-profit housing providers (as well as community housing organizations).

The Innovation Fund will prioritize projects that:

  • exceed mandatory requirements
  • bring more partners and additional investment to the table
  • address the needs of vulnerable populations

Criteria

Innovation Fund applications must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Affordable units: At least 5 new units, renovations or retrofits must be considered affordable.

The Innovation Fund defines Affordability based on the affordability criteria of the municipality where the project is located. Failing such municipal criteria, the provincial criteria may be used. Where no affordability criteria exist, we will determine affordability for rental housing projects based on the average market rent (AMR). The subject property rent must be below the AMR for new construction, based on CMHC MAC data for recently built properties.

  • Innovative design or financing models: You must demonstrate the use of innovative solutions for affordable housing. This includes novel financing models or unique designs used to overcome barriers and lower the costs and risks associated with housing projects.
  • Unit affordability maintained for at least 10 years: You must demonstrate how your project will remain affordable for at least 10 years.
  • Resource Efficiencies in the design: You must demonstrate how your project will achieve a minimum 10% decrease in energy intensity and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2015 (NECB)
  • Accessibility features must be included: At least 10% of the units of a project must meet accessibility requirements. Accessible features can include ramps, lifts, modified kitchens, bathrooms, and home automation (for more information on accessibility please see the application guide).
  • Plans for viability and sustainability without long-term government subsidies: Units must demonstrate that they can be viable while decreasing or eliminating the need for ongoing government subsidies.
  • Other factors that may be included in scoring: Projects with replicable designs, easy access to transit or have a focus on social inclusion.

Note: Projects with demonstrated added value – like replicability, access to transit or serving vulnerable populations – will receive a higher score.

APPROVAL PROCESS

The call for proposals opened on September 30, 2016. CMHC accepts and reviews applications on a continual basis and funding announcements are made on a periodic basis.

CMHC requires the ability to use the information and ideas submitted by the applicant for research and evaluation. The Fund will take intellectual property rights and confidentiality into consideration.

Proposals that meet the innovation criteria are referred to the i3 Committee for further review. The i3 Committee has representatives from the federal government and experts from various sectors (e.g., financial, lending, academia and innovation). Applicants may have the opportunity to pitch directly to the i3 Committee, who will assess and verify the level of innovation and prioritize applications for review by CMHC. 

Proposals that do not meet all criteria but show potential are referred to an Innovation Lab for refinement and potential resubmission. The Innovation Lab is an incubation hub within CMHC. The Lab provides access to technical resources and input for projects that have great potential but are not ready for funding.

If your proposal is not chosen to move forward at either of these levels, you may be invited to resubmit at a later date.

Funding is available for five years or until all funds are assigned (whichever comes first).

RESOURCES

Documentation Requirements Fact Sheet **Important: To use this interactive PDF, right click (Ctrl + click on Mac) the link to save the file, and then open it in Adobe Acrobat.

SUBMIT YOUR FUNDING APPLICATION

The application form is several pages long. You can see your progress through the application process at the top of each page.

As you move forward through your application the completed pages will be saved automatically. Partially completed pages – those that are missing required fields – will not be saved.

You may leave the application portal and return at a later time and your application progress will be saved.

Consult the Application Guide for detailed information and guidance to help you through the application process.

Important: Give yourself ample time to fill out the detailed, multi-page, online form.

 

NOTE: As part of the National Housing Strategy, the Affordable Housing Innovation fund webpage has moved over to this new site. If you have already applied to this fund, your application details have been saved. However, you will need to create a new account because new security protocols are in place. To merge your previous and new accounts please use the same email address that was used for your previous login credentials.

CONTACT

Contact a member of the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund team if you have any issues at innovationfund@cmhc.ca.

For help in completing your application, contact your Affordable Housing Specialist. They can help you understand and assess your needs, identify possible solutions, provide information on how CMHC can support your goals and help you navigate our application process.

General inquiries about the National Housing Strategy or technical support

Date Published: May 2, 2018