Trudeau Creates Fund For Nonprofits to Buy Apartment Buildings

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is creating a C$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion) program to help Canadian nonprofit organizations buy affordable apartment buildings and keep the rents down.

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It’s the latest in a series of pre-budget announcements focused on housing and affordability, as Trudeau tries to ease Canada’s severe housing crunch — and turn around his own sagging poll numbers.

The fund announced Thursday will provide C$1 billion in loans and C$470 million in grants to nonprofit groups for acquiring existing rental properties.

“Instead of that apartment being sold to a speculator or profiteer, it can go to nonprofit organizations, community housing providers and the middle class,” said Trudeau’s office in a news release. “It’ll mean Canadians can live in the communities they love, with rent prices they can afford.”

This follows Wednesday’s announcement of a C$15 billion top-up to an apartment construction loan program. The C$55 billion program aims to finance the construction of more than 131,000 new apartments within the next decade.

Earlier in the week, Trudeau outlined a C$6 billion infrastructure fund that provinces and municipalities can access — but only if they remove certain barriers to homebuilding, such as freezing municipal development charges and allowing up to four units on every lot.

The budget is set to be published April 16.

(Adds overall price tag of apartment construction loan program to paragraph 5.)

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