The Provincial Budget was released on April 2, 2024. We have summarized the housing-related budget items and provided analysis of the announcements where there are details that allow comparisons or assessment of the budget compared to the need.

Capital repairs and modernization

The budget includes funding for capital repairs and modernization of public and non-profit housing. These are:

  • $67.8m for Manitoba Housing modernization and repair
  • $4m for non-profit housing modernization and repair
  • $4m for Manitoba Housing repair and maintenance
    • Manitoba Housing repair and maintenance is usually simply part of the annual Manitoba Housing operating budget; it is not clear what the $4m listed in the budget includes
  • $4.4m for ongoing operating funding support
    • This is the funding to address expired and expiring agreements announced in March. The operating funding does include increased amounts to support capital reserves (about $1000/unit/year) and has the potential to address accumulated capital needs. MNPHA will be doing analysis over the next few months to assess the extent to which the amount announced will address this need  

Summary and analysis of capital repair and modernization budget

A complete assessment of capital needs for social housing would be based on property condition assessments for all buildings. This is not available, however, based on sample data MNPHA has assessed that non-profit and public housing requires capital repair and modernization investment of $1.5b over the next ten years, or $150m per year. The 2024/25 budget commits $75m, or half, of the required annual investment. On the positive side, it is an increase from previous years (2023/24 invested $67m in capital renewal for Manitoba Housing and $1.4m for ongoing operating funding), and includes funding earmarked for non-profit housing for the first time in many years.

New Social and Affordable Housing

There are several new funding programs for development that target the creation of at least 350 units of social and affordable housing. These programs include:

  • $20m capital grants program for the non-profit sector
    • This fund is targeted specifically to social housing supply “through proposals from community housing providers to acquire, renovate, or construct new social housing units”
  • $10m affordable housing partnership program
    • This fund will partner with the private sector, municipalities and Indigenous governments to facilitate the planning, development, conversion and building of new affordable housing units
  • $6m acquisition of new properties
    • Details on this are limited, but the budget notes that the funding will “acquire existing housing stock for the not for profit sector.” This timing of this initiative is positive as the Federal government recently announced a Canada Rental Protection Fund including $470m in grants and $1b in loans to help non-profits acquire affordable rental units
  • Removing PST rebate on new affordable housing units
    • It is likely that this program will be similar to the Rental Housing Construction Tax Credit, which provided an up-front grant to non-profit housing development

Summary and Analysis of new development initiatives

There are some unknowns in the budget announcement including:

  1. The breakdown of affordability, how many units will be social (and therefore rent-geared-to-income), and how many will be affordable, which has tended to be defined as median market rent by the province though can be higher if tied with CMHC definitions; and
  2. The ownership of the units. Will they all be community (non-profit, cooperative, or public), or does this number include rent supplements in the private for-profit sector?

The analysis MNPHA conducted using data on housing need across Manitoba has found that we need at least 1,000 units of community housing each year for the next 10 years (10,000 units in total), and that most of these will need to be social housing. The target is aligned with reports from Scotia Bank economists who recommend Canada double its community housing stock over the next 30 years to address the housing crisis, and Deloitte economists who found that bringing Manitoba’s community-owned housing stock up to the OECD average would increase Manitoba’s GDP by $0.9-$2.2B. This target does not include an estimate of the number of private for-profit purpose-built rental housing units needed. While there is certainly a need for purpose-built rental, it is in addition to the 1,000 units per year.

Despite the targets for increasing community housing stock being below the need, there are many positives to take from the budget. The range of tools and initiatives recognizes that the variety of methods necessary to reduce costs, fund, and create community housing. It seems that some, or potentially all, the programs will continue beyond one year and could grow over time. Long-term and predictable funding program are more efficient and effective than one-time announcements and allow the community housing sector to plan appropriately, while also taking advantage of opportunities that arise.

Support within Social Housing

The budget includes resources and initiatives to end chronic homelessness which will also support tenants in non-profit and public housing. These are:

  • $5m for housing supports towards a Housing First model and other initiatives designed to address chronic homelessness
  • $1m to assist tenants whose housing is threatened because of pests
  • $1m to continue the Rent Relief Fund program
  • $1m for rent supplements

Summary and analysis of the budget for supports within social housing

This budget continues and expands the province’s role in implementing its homelessness strategy. The Housing First model is demonstrated to effectively support those experiencing chronic homelessness. You can watch a webinar on how Finland uses housing first to end homelessness here to learn more.  The experience in Finland demonstrates that housing first is a systemic intervention and requires more than case management programs. A key aspect of housing first is access to quality, affordable housing.

Increased preventative resources including pest control and the Rent Relief Fund have been identified by housing providers and tenants as critical interventions. This budget also continues the $1.3m Tenant Supports Initiative (formerly the Housing Supports Initiative), funding the existing programs for one more year. MNPHA is recommending over the next year, this program shift its focus on providing supports within non-profit housing, now that there are new resources available for case management and pest control through Manitoba Housing. This will help move towards the targeted goal of one tenant support worker per 100 units in independent living community housing, so tenants are connected to resources and have successful long-term tenancies. Operating resources for supportive housing for those who require more intensive supports, including those who need mental health supports and addictions resources, are not identified in this budget.

You can read other assessments or comments on the provincial budget related to housing here:

News media on the budget:

Brandon Sun: Brandon Housing co-op welcomes reno funds

Winnipeg Free Press: Kinew details $30m plan to increase affordable housing supply, reduce homelessness

CBC Radio: Does the provincial budget reflect the needs of Manitobans who need housing?


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