Vancity Community Foundation is excited to share that the Vancity Affordable Community Housing Program’s project “Reaching New Heights: Scaling the Vancity Affordable Housing Accelerator Program across Canada” received support and funding from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Housing Supply Challenge Level-Up Round, which supports innovative solutions that remove barriers to increasing housing. We are one of 20 semi-finalists and will receive $1 million and move into Stage 2.

CMHC's Housing Supply Challenge aims to remove or reduce barriers that hinder housing supply. It invites citizens, stakeholders and experts to propose solutions to the barriers to new housing supply and will distribute $300 million in funding over 5 years and through 5 rounds to successful submissions to prototype or incubate their proposal. Each round awards proposals that address housing supply barriers such as financing, build timelines, construction productivity and improving data on land availability.

Our project, “Reaching New Heights: Scaling the Vancity Affordable Housing Accelerator Program across Canada”, aims to take our made in BC program and scale it across Canada by partnering with credit unions across the country. Since 2011, the Vancity Affordable Community Housing Program has leveraged seed funding from Vancity credit union to raise funds from impact investors in order to increase access to hard-to-find pre-construction (early-stage) funding and financing for affordable community housing development and acquisition projects. We have a specific focus on non-profit, Indigenous and co-operative organizations, that can unlock land, municipal approvals and financing to build more housing across B.C., faster.

Now we are hoping to take our partnership with Vancity credit union to the next level by working with the Canadian Credit Union Association and credit unions across Canada to transform the Vancity Affordable Community Housing Program into a national model that can be readily implemented and activated in diverse communities across Canada.

Round 5 of the Housing Supply Challenge, titled “Level Up Challenge: Transforming the Way Canada Delivers Housing”, addresses the entrenched housing affordability crisis in Canada. Its goal is to scale systems-level solutions to expedite the construction of housing, specifically solutions that speed up community housing projects.

We hope that by taking our B.C. program nationwide, we can make community housing projects more cost effective and help community housing providers increase the amount of housing they can build or acquire.

Thank you to CMHC for your support and congratulations to all semi-finalists. We will continue to share more about this project in the weeks and months ahead.