National Housing Day celebrated with launch of 2008 CMHC Housing Awards



    OTTAWA, Nov. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of
Human Resources and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada
Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) commemorated National Housing Day
today by launching the call for entries for the 2008 CMHC Housing Awards
Program (HAP) recognizing best practices in affordable housing.
    "National Housing Day is an opportunity to recognize that while progress
is being made to address housing issues in Canada, the need for affordable
housing solutions remains," said Minister Solberg. "Today's call for entries
to the 2008 CMHC Housing Awards is an invitation to all Canadian individuals
and groups committed to creating affordable housing to bring forward their new
ideas and initiatives so that eventually they can be shared with communities
across the country."
    The CMHC Housing Awards Program was created in 1988 to identify,
recognize, showcase and share best practices that have helped to improve the
quality, choice and affordability of housing in Canada. The Program honours
the people and organizations creating affordable housing solutions across the
country. Entries may include projects that demonstrate a range of affordable
housing solutions to meet the needs of the communities they serve. The
deadline for submissions is April 18, 2008.
    The Housing Awards Program is just one way CMHC is advancing affordable
housing solutions across Canada. CMHC has also launched a suite of new
information products, tools and resources related to affordable housing that
will help individuals and groups by making it easier to find current
information, get ideas and learn from others.
    This new suite of information products features an enhanced web site and
includes a collection of affordable housing project profiles highlighting
successful approaches in communities across Canada. It also includes an
electronic checklist of essential steps to guide groups through the
development process, along with fact sheets that provide tips on developing
business plans, fundraising and generating community support.

    As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on over 60 years of
experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally
sustainable, and affordable homes - homes that will continue to create vibrant
and healthy communities and cities across the country.
    CMHC's team of experts works with the private, non-profit and public
sectors at a local level to ensure that all Canadians have access to
affordable housing options and to advance affordable housing across Canada.

    For more information on the Housing Awards Program please see the
attached backgrounder. To request the guidelines and application form visit
the CMHC website www.cmhc.ca. Search keyword: housing awards.

    For more information on the expertise, tools, and resources available to
develop affordable housing visit: www.cmhc.ca/affordablehousing

    Or call: 1-800-668-2642

    Backgrounders attached


    
                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------

                           2008 CMHC Housing Awards
               Recognizing Best Practices in Affordable Housing

    The Housing Awards Program takes place every two years. The theme for 2008
is Best Practices in Affordable Housing and will recognize up to 16 best
practices that have resulted in affordable housing.
    CMHC is interested in receiving applications of best practices that have
improved housing affordability, that is, housing which is priced at or below
average market housing rents or selling prices in the community or area. These
initiatives may include large or small projects and demonstrate various ways
to create affordable housing that meets the needs of the communities they
serve.
    To assist applicants, the Guidelines provide examples of the types of
projects eligible under the Housing Awards Program. The projects demonstrate a
wide spectrum of housing activities, such as: Buildings, Housing Finance,
Neighbourhoods, and Housing with Resident Services. A national
multi-disciplinary external committee will judge the entries and select the
winners
    In the fall of 2008, winners will be honoured at the Awards Event in
Ottawa where the Awards will be presented and the winners achievements
celebrated. The event will also offer winners a unique opportunity to network,
not only with other Housing Awards winners, but also with CMHC's partners and
housing representatives from across Canada. Winners will be profiled in CMHC
news releases, on the CMHC website and in a special CMHC publication detailing
the winning initiatives.
    CMHC will provide resources to assist winners in preparing displays,
presentations, etc. for use at events and will sponsor winners to attend and
make presentations at housing related events. This will result in transfer of
information about winning initiatives across Canada.

    The deadline for submissions is April 18, 2008.

    Applications must be received at CMHC, 700 Montreal Road by 5:00 p.m.
Eastern Standard Time on April 18, 2008

    To download the Guidelines and Application Form visit: www.cmhc.ca
    Search Keyword: housing awards

    To order a hardcopy of the Guidelines (product No. 63314),
e-mail callcent@cmhc.ca or call 1-800-668-2642


                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------
                       CMHC Affordable Housing Centre
                   Advancing Affordable Housing Solutions

    Working with private, non-profit and public sectors at a local level,
CMHC's team of experts are dedicated to advancing affordable housing solutions
across the country to help create vibrant, healthy communities and help make
sure all Canadians have a place to call home.
    Drawing on a wide range of affordable housing experience, CMHC helps
connect individuals and organizations interested in making affordable housing
happen with the resources, knowledge and contacts that can make your vision a
reality.
    CMHC's Affordable Housing Centre has the most comprehensive inventory of
information products, tools and resources to advance affordable housing in
Canada, including:

    - A collection of affordable housing project profiles to find approaches
      that have worked in communities across Canada.
    - A checklist of essential steps that will help you get organized and
      guide you through the development process.
    - Affordable housing development fact sheets that provide tips and
      practical information on activities, such as conducting needs
      assessments, developing business plans, fundraising and generating
      community support.
    - An on-line viability assessment tool to assess the financial viability
      of your project.
    - Monthly interactive web forums on affordable housing topics with
      leading industry experts that encourage information sharing without the
      inconvenience of traveling.

    CMHC offers advice and funding to help with some of the activities
required in the early stages of developing your proposal. This can include:

    - Seed Funding, a combined grant and loan of up to $20,000 to cover some
      of the up front costs involved in developing a housing project
      proposal, such as housing market studies to evaluate need and demand or
      the development of a business plan.
    - Proposal Development Funding (PDF) interest-free loans of up to
      $100,000 to further develop your affordable housing project proposals.
      In addition, if your housing project adds to the stock of affordable
      housing in your community, you could have a portion of the PDF loan
      forgiven.
    

    CMHC also has renovation programs that help preserve affordable housing
and improve the living conditions for low-income households, including seniors
and people with a disability. CMHC can help you figure out if these programs
could be helpful to the project you are considering.
    CMHC's mortgage loan insurance for affordable housing enables lenders to
offer more flexible financing options for affordable rental or homeowner
projects. There are a number of financing options available that can open the
door to affordable rental and homeownership housing. CMHC can help you
understand the requirements to access some of these options.




For further information:

For further information: Kristen Scheel, Media Relations, CMHC, (613)
748-4632, C: (613) 513-6546, www.cmhc.ca; Julie Girard, Media Relations, CMHC,
(613) 748-4684, C: (613) 295-6330, www.cmhc.ca


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