Should the province direct new housing money to municipalities identified as needing it the most?

Poll: Housing money

A new pot of money announced Monday for affordable home construction in B.C. will not be directly funnelled to the 10 municipalities put on a “housing target” list earlier this year by Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon to build more homes.

The minister announced Monday that another round of applications via its $3.3-billion “community housing fund” is now open to municipalities, non-profits, First Nations and others to access money to build up to 3,500 units of housing.

The cost of the 3,500 units wasn’t disclosed, but it is estimated to be in the millions.

The funds will go to any municipality or organization that is successful in its application for affordable housing projects across B.C., despite the government putting 10 cities on a housing target list in May.

Asked why government would not set aside funds solely for the 10 cities and other organizations to incentivize and accelerate construction, Kahlon said: “Well, because it's not only those communities that need the housing, but they're the ones who need more housing.”

Government has dedicated $3.3 billion via its community housing fund to build more than 20,000 affordable rental homes by 2031-32 for people with moderate and low incomes.

The 3,500 units announced Monday are part of that calculation.

So far, the government says approximately 9,000 homes via the fund are open or underway throughout B.C. — a statistic BC United’s housing critic, Karin Kirkpatrick, questioned, pointing to an exchange she had with Kahlon in the legislature in April.

A Hansard transcript of that exchange quotes Kahlon as saying 1,475 units were completed under the community housing fund. The minister then goes on to say more than 32,000 homes were either complete or in development under the NDP’s various housing programs.

Kirkpatrick said the government originally promised 14,000 homes under the community housing fund. Now that promise has increased to 20,000, she said, noting promises don’t equate to completed housing.

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