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New Liberal Budget Focuses on Retrofitting Social Housing

April 24, 2016

In the new budget from the federal Liberals, there is increased funding for affordable housing. And although the total amount of investment is not clear, affordable housing advocates confirm that there is support for renovating, retrofitting, and eventually building. Apparently, in the first two years of funding, money will be targeted at renovating existing social housing that is quickly aging and in dire need of repairs. The idea here is that short-term investment will buy valuable time for the federal government to construct a longer-term plan for social housing. Needless to say, the short term funding for renovations and retrofitting of existing social housing is necessary and required. But at the same time, the government's intentions to create a national housing strategy will address the longer-term needs of families who require affordable housing. Beyond the tens-of-millions of dollars allocated for new rental builds, there are also considerable millions that will be provided to landlords who will undertake to renovate or retrofit rental units that are aging and in need of work. This is a good start, with plenty more needed in future. In terms of actual numbers, the Liberal budget allocates more than $2 Billion over the span of 2 years for affordable housing and homelessness. Some $200 Million, over the same period of time, will be allocated for repairing, retrofitting, and building affordable units for low-income seniors and others. More specifically, there are a great many social housing units across the country that aren't energy efficient or water efficient. These are projects that will entail upgrading/retrofitting like high efficiency HVAC equipment, high performance insulation, and other improvements. The Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario Program IAH is a government-funded program (federal and provincial), targeted at affordable housing, and extending through 2020. Applicants will work with local Municipal Housing Departments in specific geographic areas that require support. IAH offers different funding options, each designed to meet a specific market need. Specifically, funding will be targeted in three different ways: Rental Housing Component; Home Ownership Component; and Ontario Renovates Component. In the Ontario Renovates Component, funding is designed to provide significant rebates that will be applied to projects that involve insulation and/or energy upgrades. Here, the emphasis is on promoting maximum energy efficiencies. IAH strongly promotes repairs, renovations, and retrofits that include the installation of energy-efficient products. As an example, funding would be available when installing attic insulation that would ensure a minimum R-Value. While IAH is government driven and funded, Great Northern Insulation can provide program particulars with respect to project criteria and funding guidelines. However, it's local Municipal Housing Departments that do approvals. As Canada's largest insulation contractor, Great Northern Insulation can assist IAH applicants with dates and deadlines; eligibility conditions; project submissions and approvals; and other rules and regulations that might apply. From blown-in attic insulation, to premium spray polyurethane foam, GNI offers the best quality insulation products on the market, along with installations that are guaranteed for the long term.

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