A housing needs assessment report recently undertaken by the City of Winkler indicates the city could potentially get its hands on a significant amount of money through a program aimed at helping municipalities build housing quickly.
Mayor Henry Siemens calls the $4-billion CMHC Accelerator Fund a very welcome program that will help communities across the country.

"There is a base $20,000 per unit that's available. There's additional funding towards multi-family units and additional funding towards social or affordable housing units. It's something that's needed and we're very happy to see this fund being announced," said Siemens. "That being said, while $4 billion sounds like an awful lot of money, ultimately when spread across the country, it's not quite that much." 

The application the City of Winkler submitted indicates the community would be eligible for up to $18 million over three years. 

Siemens says the city would be ecstatic to receive the full amount it was eligible to apply for through the Accelerator Fund, however, he says that's likely not to be the case. He says that would mean every aspect of the seven-item approach they put forward on their application was approved. Those items are based on the Housing Needs Assessment Report.

The ultimate goal of the CMHC Accelerator Fund is to increase what's already happening within communities to build homes, noted Siemens.

"We're in a place where we have lots of good jobs and good quality of life here in southern Manitoba. Unfortunately, we don't have enough housing. So as this happens, this fund is specifically there to increase what's already happening. So if we're building 100 homes a year, the hope would be that this helps us get to 120. If we're building.200 condos a year, this gets us to 240 or to 250."

Although the City does not know when a decision will be made on their application, however, Siemens noted they're expecting a quick turnaround on a decision.

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- With files from Chris Sumner -