Updated Comparison of Municipal Funding Support for Affordable Housing

September 4, 2021
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Of eight municipalities that were reviewed, the City of St. John’s NFLD provides the most financial support per capita (annually) for affordable housing.

At the end of August 2021, Halifax Regional Municipality made a commitment of $500K towards homelessness, a contribution it will make annually. As in 2020-21, an allowance of $150K has been included for affordable housing funded through community and district grants. There were 448,544 people living in HRM in 2020 so HRM's current financial commitment to affordable housing is estimated to be $1.45 per capita.

Municipal governments can help incentivize the development of affordable housing in many different ways. Financial contributions are a relatively recent trend and are sometimes used to help secure or augment federal or provincial financing for affordable housing.

Financial contributions from eight Atlantic Canadian municipalities were reviewed to illustrate the role that local governments are playing in affordable housing. Per capita comparisons help pinpoint the level of funding support irrespective of the size of the municipality.

Information presented below (as of September 2021) includes the amount of funding, number of fiscal years that funding is being made available and how the municipal funding is being used. The most recent population statistics were used to calculate the per capita comparisons.

This review looks at municipal financial support only. The value of any donated land has not been included, but where known, donated land is noted. Most municipal governments will waive building permit fees for non-profit housing – these amounts have not been included. The value of any waived property taxes has not been included. Flow-through funding from other levels of government, for example CMHC’s Rapid Housing program, has not been included.

A Note About Dieppe, New Brunswick

The City of Dieppe has made a substantial commitment to developing mixed income housing by creating a land bank in its downtown. Dieppe purchased 13 acres of downtown property and has adopted a mixed income housing strategy as the foundation for its Downtown Development Plan. Dieppe also makes an $11K grant available per underground parking space for mixed income housing projects being developed in its downtown.


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David Harrison

David Harrison is an urban planner and development consultant based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

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