PM announces $600 million in loans, funding to jump-start homebuilding, rentals

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Canadian Press

The federal Liberal government plans a $600-million package of loans and funding to help make it easier and cheaper to build homes for owners and renters.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement in Calgary, just the latest in a string of pre-budget announcements aimed at winning over younger voters.

“Younger generations, like millennials and gen-Z, feel like they’re falling behind because housing costs are just too high,” said Trudeau. “That’s not OK — and it needs to change.”

Trudeau said $50 million would go toward a homebuilding technology and innovation fund, with another $50 million to modernize and expedite construction.

An additional $500 million worth of low-cost loans will foster projects with “innovative” construction techniques from prefabricated and modular housing manufacturers and other builders.

Housing Minister Sean Fraser said Canada is living through a housing crisis, but it doesn’t have to be like that going forward.

“But it’s going to demand that we do things in different ways,” he said, adding more announcements would be made in coming weeks.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will table the next federal budget April 16.

trudeau housingTrudeau’s string of cross-Canada news conferences, often with Freeland at his side, comes after months of often-intense political attacks from opposition parties who blame the housing crisis on Liberal inaction.

On Friday, he “announced a ‘new’ program on innovation when a similar program already exists and re-announced two other existing programs,” Conservative housing critic Scott Aitchison said in a statement.

“All of these are his existing policies that have contributed to the doubling of the cost of housing.”

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said Friday she’s not interested in pursuing federal money with conditions attached “if it means hamstringing our ability to build the kind of housing that we need.”

Smith said she wants a model for Alberta’s federal-provincial partnership similar to the one with Quebec, billing it as a healthier relationship that allows both sides to decide together where federal funds are spent.

Federal NDP housing critic Jenny Kwan blamed a lack of housing stock on the failures of both the Liberal government and its Conservative predecessor to prioritize building affordable places to live.

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