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Yukon MP Brendan Hanley

Funding will help build homes in four Yukon communities

Four new Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) agreements in the Yukon – worth $6.7 million – will help fast-track 110 homes in the next three years and spur the construction of more than 1,000 homes over the next decade.

By Whitehorse Star on April 2, 2024

Four new Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) agreements in the Yukon – worth $6.7 million – will help fast-track 110 homes in the next three years and spur the construction of more than 1,000 homes over the next decade.

The announcement was made Tuesday in Watson Lake by Yukon MP Brendan Hanley and Watson Lake Mayor Chris Irvin.“With federal funding and federal leadership, we are changing how municipalities let housing get built in their communities,” the federal government said in a statement.

“With a greater focus on higher-density housing and affordable housing, we are going to get more homes built for Canadians at prices they can afford.”

Watson Lake will receive $2,060,000 to support its Action Plan.

That blueprint commits to five local initiatives that are projected to incentivize 42 additional permitted units over the next three years and help spur the construction of 105 homes over the next decade.

Planned initiatives include:

• the launch of a grant program for infill development;

• an incentive program to convert non-residential to residential units;

• amending the zoning bylaw to remove barriers to missing middle housing;

• creating an action plan toward addressing community barriers to residential financing; and

• develop a policy for public-private partnership for municipal service extension.

“On behalf of the Town of Watson Lake, we sincerely appreciate the support of the Government of Canada and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in making this funding available to our community,” said Irvin.

“With these funds, we intend to increase the overall availability and affordability of housing, helping ensure everyone in Watson Lake has a safe and affordable place to call home.”

Dawson City will receive $1,037,892 to support its Action Plan.

That involves six local initiatives that are projected to incentivize 18 additional permitted units over the next three years and encourage the construction of 370 homes over the next decade.

Planned initiatives will seek to boost efficiencies through an e-permitting system and increase data usage through the implementation of GIS tools.

As well, the heritage and zoning bylaws will be reviewed to make it easier to build housing and increase density.

Finally, policies will be created for multi-unit residential and sale of town property.

“The City of Dawson is very pleased to receive funds through the Housing Accelerator Fund program to help us increase our available housing and associated infrastructure,” said Dawson Mayor Bill Kendrick.

“Through innovations such as an electronic permitting system and increased use of GIS-mapping tools, the development process will be made faster and more efficient for both applicants and municipal staff.”

The money, Kendrick added, “will also ensure that the town’s development bylaws are reviewed to help facilitate an adequate mix of housing types in our community, including affordable housing, while enhancing our municipality's economic, social, and environmental sustainability.”

Carmacks will take in $2,367,074 for its Action Plan. That embraces six local initiatives that are projected to incentivize 30 additional permitted units over the next three years and help make the construction of 471 homes a reality over the next decade.

Plans include a new incentive program for affordable housing development, implementation of an e-permitting system and amendments to the village’s zoning bylaw.

Also planned are the creation of policies promoting high density, encouraging more productive use of land, and encouraging new housing types, such as prefabricated and modular units.

“This funding represents a significant investment in the future of our community. With the support of CMHC, we are empowered to address housing challenges and create a more vibrant and inclusive Carmacks,” said Carmacks Mayor Lee Bodie.

Haines Junction’s Action Plan will be bolstered by $1,234,637.

The village plans five initiatives expected to incentivize 20 additional permitted units over the next three years and help 90 homes be built over the next decade.

Plans include:

• zoning changes to remove barriers to missing middle housing and promote higher density;

• improvements to the building permitting and approvals process;

• launching a new dwelling construction grant program for young residents;

• a review of recreation and community services; and

• the promotion of more mixed-use opportunities that can lead to more housing.

“The Village of Haines Junction is excited to announce its partnership with the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF),” said Haines Junction Mayor Bruce Tomlin.

“The HAF is aimed at significantly increasing the supply of affordable homes in our community. This fund will support the village in removing barriers to the development of new homes in Haines Junction.”

The federal government said HAF is helping cut red tape and fast-track at least 100,000 permitted new homes nationally over the first three years.

Municipalities estimate the measures will lead to the creation of more than 750,000 permitted new homes in towns, cities, villages, and Indigenous communities across Canada over the next decade.

It asks for innovative action plans from local governments.

Once they’re approved, the program provides upfront funding to ensure timely construction.

“Local governments are encouraged to think big and be bold in their approaches, which could include accelerating project timelines, allowing increased housing density, and encouraging affordable housing units,” the government said.

“We will continue working with municipalities, mayors, Indigenous partners, and all levels of government to get more homes built for Canadians at prices they can afford,” said Sean Fraser, the federal minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities.

Hanley said municipalities “are keenly aware of the housing crisis our country is currently experiencing, and they know the real needs of our communities.

“The Housing Accelerator Fund is an acknowledgement that the status quo is no longer sufficient.

“By working together, innovative initiatives led by the municipalities will remove barriers, incentivize the redevelopment of underused land, and speed up construction.”

Launched in March 2023, the HAF is a $4-billion initiative that will run until 2026-27.

As of Sept. 30, 2023, Ottawa has committed more than $38.89 billion to support the creation of almost 152,000 units and the repair of 241,000-plus units.

The measures prioritize those in greatest need, including seniors, Indigenous peoples, people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and women and children fleeing domestic violence.

Comments (4)

Up 1 Down 0

Jim on Apr 8, 2024 at 10:02 pm

Why do all these “gift” announcements run well beyond a governments term? Is it for leverage so if you don’t vote them in it will be your loss. Talk about using your own money to buy your vote.

Up 0 Down 1

Jake on Apr 8, 2024 at 4:17 pm

@brett agreed, but I was thinking more of building housing to suite the needs of those that will buy them. Not turning the development over to those that take advantage. A housing authority that fills the need. Flexible mortgages that allow people to afford housing. A op out clause should they not be able to continue with it. I would even go as far as an insurance arm to help underwrite the liability as insurance companies today are not very receptive. So much could be done with the right people leading with vision. As I said in my other post too much of this win fall is just going out with little or no return.

Up 4 Down 2

Brett Chandler on Apr 5, 2024 at 3:01 pm

Jake, all mortgage incentives will do is raise housing prices as sellers start taking those incentives into account.

Up 50 Down 8

Jake on Apr 3, 2024 at 9:58 am

Not that I am being negative but looking at this it seems a bit confusing. Why not just offer up mortgage incentives for those that are looking for affordable homes. Low interest loans, that way the fund could keep growing and keep offering those incentives indefinitely. Looking at the layout now it can see a lot of it being gobbled up
With little or no return on investment

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