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Feds reject Delta's application for HAF funding

The fund is part of Canada’s overall National Housing Strategy
The $4 billion HAF fund is aimed at supporting municipalities get more housing built sooner. Sandor Gyarmati photo

The City of Delta, along with several other Lower Mainland municipalities, have been turned down for federal funding to help fast-track the construction of new homes.

The Government of Canada has been announcing grants from the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) for hundreds of communities across the country to help local governments build 100,000 new homes.

It’s a $4 billion initiative that cities applied for last year, outlining how the funding could assist in planning, zoning updates, technology, streamlining the permitting process and other changes, all required to speed up the delivery of new homes.

A total of 87 B.C. communities applied and several received funding. It was announced last December that the City of Burnaby, for example, would receive $43.4 million, while last week it was announced the City of North Vancouver would receive $18.6 million.

Delta, which was one of the first 10 municipalities to have been given a target for new housing units by the provincial government, was informed last week its application had been rejected.

Noting the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation gave no insight on why Delta’s application for funding was turned down, Coun. Dylan Kruger said it’s disappointing, since the application for HAF funding included tangible actions that were aligned with actions the federal government suggested cities need to take.

Those actions included updating plans and bylaws to allow for additional density, removing regulatory restrictions and streamlining processes, pre-zoning lands permitting accessory dwelling units, reducing parking requirements, as well as creating incentives for affordable housing.

“Delta council has already taken considerable steps to address the housing needs of our community. Delta is at the forefront of cities in our region in terms of expedited approvals, and we have recently embarked on a housing-forward update to our Official Community Plan with a timeline that would likely see Delta be among the first communities to satisfy the province’s new regulatory requirements,” said Kruger.

“It’s disappointing that this hard work will not be rewarded with needed federal funding for infrastructure in our community. Federal funding through the HAF program would have supported our efforts, helped address staff capacity, and contributed towards planning for critical infrastructure upgrades needed to support growth,” he added.

In late 2021, council approved the city’s new Housing Action Plan. The plan sets out a series of strategies, each with short to long-term actions, to address the needs identified through Delta’s Housing Needs Assessment.

The city has begun public consultation on a major Official Community Plan update.