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Interest-Free Loans From CCPPPH Promote Affordable Housing

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 20 November 2001 00:00

While private developers pursue middle and high-income buyers, the rest of Canada is left out in the cold. Community groups interested in filling this void by developing affordable housing often meet financial and knowledge barriers that stop them from creating the housing essential to most Canadian communities.

The Canadian Centre for Public-Private Partnerships in Housing (CCPPPH) , formed 10 years ago to bridge the gap left when the federal government ended its role as social housing provider, helps community-based organizations overcome some development barriers, but admits that current affordable housing providers tend to be the best hope.

In a survey of 400 current and potential affordable housing providers across Canada, CCPPPH discovered repeat participation and a diverse funding base were typical of these developers:

  • Current providers are almost twice (55%) as likely as potential providers (31%) to be involved in developing or acquiring/renovating housing in the future. Nearly half (48%) of all non-profit agencies surveyed are planning to develop and/or acquire and renovate.

  • Overall activity in housing is expected to increase in a number of key areas, including the provision of:

    •Temporary housing

    •A fund for affordable housing

    •Financial assistance for affordable housing

  • Those interested in providing housing look to a range of funding sources. While many of those wishing to create housing expect support from the provincial (78%) and federal (51%) government levels, they also anticipate funding from their local municipality (61%), other partners (49%) and community fundraising (48%). Twenty-six per cent of the organizations cited the land assets they owned as a source of funding.

Getting a Kickstart

In many ways, CCPPPH reinforces the weakest links in community-based development -- aquiring knowledge and financing. The Centre works with non-profit community groups and municipal, provincial and federal governments to put the information Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) collects into practice and to guide groups along a financial pathway around development barriers.

Since 1991, the CCPPPH has facilitated more than 215 projects, representing more than 16,000 units across Canada. Although the Centre does not lend development funding, it offers support applying for the federal Proposal Development Fund loan (PDF).

This interest-free loan of up to CN$ 75,000 is awarded to help organizations and individuals prepare a detailed proposal to develop affordable housing for seniors, persons with disabilities and those with low incomes. A Centre representative ensures the application is completed properly and that it meets PDF qualifying criteria. The representative directs the group to a mortgage lender or other funding programs like the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance program (RRAP) and guides their progress.

Since the Partnership Centre is a team of CMHC employees, it is no surprise that CCPPPH can also be instrumental in helping a housing project qualify for the mortgage insurance essential for National Housing Act-Insured financing. Mortgage insurance protects the lender should the borrower fall into financial trouble and is legally required for mortgages that are greater than 75 % of the appraised value of the property or project.

Just as CCPPPH personnel evaluate a project's potential at the start to ensure everything proceeds smoothly, they are there to help with the final stages, including official ceremonies like a sod turning.

Do you see a need for affordable housing in your neighbourhood or community, but you don't know what to do about it? Have you talked to fellow members of your faith group, service club, community association or social club and found a common interest in housing? Contact CCPPPH at 1 800 668-2642 or email the nearest regional centre:

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For more articles by P.J. Wade, please press here .

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PJ Wade

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