National Housing Day celebrated with launch of 2010 CMHC Housing Awards

OTTAWA, Nov. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) marked National Housing Day by launching a call for entries to the 2010 CMHC Housing Awards Program, which recognizes private sector-led best practices in affordable housing.

"National Housing Day is an opportunity to showcase solutions that address affordable housing needs in Canada," said Karen Kinsley, President of CMHC. "Today's call for entries to the 2010 CMHC Housing Awards is an invitation to the private sector to bring forward innovative initiatives to improve affordable housing so that these ideas may be shared with communities across Canada."

The 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. Applications must represent private sector-led initiatives that have demonstrated a range of affordable housing solutions to meet the needs of the communities they serve. The deadline for submissions is April 16, 2010.

This program is just one way CMHC advances affordable housing solutions across Canada. CMHC also has an Affordable Housing Centre, which has a team of housing experts dedicated to working with individuals and organisations from the private, non-profit and public sectors to help them develop their affordable housing projects. They offer project-specific expertise, help determine if a housing project is financially viable, identify resources and other potential partners, and share information on what has worked in other communities.

The Affordable Housing Centre website offers a comprehensive inventory of information, tools and resources, including a collection of more than 100 affordable housing project profiles highlighting successful approaches that have been implemented in communities across Canada.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 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.

For more information on the Housing Awards Program, to download the guidelines and application form or 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
                                 ------------

                           2010 CMHC Housing Awards
               Recognizing Best Practices in Affordable Housing
    

The Housing Awards theme for 2010 is "Best Practices in Affordable Housing: Recognizing Leadership from the Private Sector." Up to 16 private sector-led best practices that have resulted in affordable housing will be recognized.

CMHC is interested in receiving applications from the private sector that demonstrate their leadership role in developing 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 2010, winners will be honoured at an 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 presentations for use at events and will sponsor winners to attend and participate in housing related events. This will result in transfer of information about winning initiatives across Canada.

The deadline for submissions is April 16, 2010. Applications must be received at CMHC by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Please forward applications to:

    
    Project Officer,
    Responsive Programs,
    700 Montreal Road
    Ottawa, ON
    K1A 0P7
    

To download the Guidelines and Application Form visit the Housing Awards section of CMHC's web site: www.cmhc.ca/affordablehousing

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 on approaches
        that have worked in communities across Canada.
    -   A checklist of essential steps that will help guide individuals and
        organizations 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 the 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 proposals. 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 an affordable housing project proposal.
        In addition, if the housing project adds to the stock of affordable
        housing in the community, a portion of the PDF loan forgiven may be
        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 provide advice about whether these programs could be helpful to the project under consideration.

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 provide advice about the requirements to access some of these options.

SOURCE Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

For further information: For further information: Charles Sauriol, Media Relations, CMHC, T: (613) 748-2799 C: (613) 816-5978, csauriol@cmhc-schl.gc.ca


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