Is your co-op taking advantage of funding programs?

30 March 2022

From new construction to sustainability upgrades, a housing co-op always has projects on its wish list. 

Fortunately, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other organizations offer funding programs that your co-op can use to turn those wish-list items into reality.   

CMHC Seed Funding for New Construction and Conversions 

CMHC’s Seed Funding Program can help housing co-ops with interest-free loans or non-repayable contributions. The program itself has two different funding streams: one for new construction and conversions, and the other to preserve existing community housing projects (detailed under CMHC Preservation Fund below). 

The New Construction stream can help with the cost of pre-development activities, including business plans, preliminary designs, development permits and more. 

You can learn the details of program eligibility and apply for funds on CMHC’s website.  

CMHC Preservation Fund 

The second part of the Seed Funding Program is the CMHC Preservation Fund. This fund exists to help keep housing co-ops in good condition and ready for the future. 

For Agency clients, the Preservation Fund is a great way to pay for reports such as a Building Condition Assessment (BCA) and a capital reserve plan (CRP), an energy audit or an age-friendly conversion analysis. 

The Agency has prepared an Information Sheet on the Preservation Fund that outlines project eligibility and how to apply.  

CMHC National Housing Co-investment Fund 

CMHC’s National Housing Co-Investment Fund is something we’ve written about recently. We plan to keep reminding you of its potential use for repair and renewal projects, as well as new construction, with a focus on environmental and financial sustainability. 

In applying for money from the Co-Investment Fund, your co-op must demonstrate to CMHC that you’ll achieve a 25 per cent reduction in energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, compared to past performance. 

FCM’s Green Municipal Fund 

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Green Municipal Fund was launched in 2020 with the goal of helping municipalities across Canada improve their sustainability.  

This program can benefit housing co-ops by funding the retrofitting of existing affordable units or constructing energy-efficient new builds with lower GHG emissions. 

Within this program, you can also apply for financial assistance to help cover the costs of planning and the studies needed to determine the scope of your projects.  

Learn more about the program and eligibility requirements in FCM’s Application Guide

Community-Based Tenants Initiative Fund 

Founded in 2018, the Community Housing Transformation Centre collaborates with community housing providers to help make them more resilient, sustainable and inclusive. To support that goal, the Centre has a funding program called the Community-Based Tenants Initiative Fund.  

For housing co-ops, the purpose of this program is to pay for projects that will increase members’  participation in co-op decision-making, improve their skills as members and create opportunities, spaces and structures that encourage and enable them to be more involved. Funding from the program is available until 2024 with a $150,000 maximum limit and no deadline.  

To learn more about the Community-Based Tenants Initiative Fund and apply for project funding, check out the Centre's website. 

Starting an Application 

If your co-op has a project that you think would qualify for funds under one of these programs, the best place to start would be to discuss it with the relevant organisation or your local federation. They’ll be able to help you decide on the next steps for your application. 

Plans in Action

The average co-op with an approved capital replacement plan tucks away more than $3,600 per unit in reserves each year--triple the 2007 amount. Does their future hold better windows? New kitchens? Savings mean more choices.