Apply for funding to create affordable housing: Affordable Housing Development Program
The Affordable Housing Development Program supports the creation of affordable housing. Private developers and community housing developers can apply for forgivable loans from the Affordable Housing Development Program to help fund the construction of new housing or the conversion of non-residential buildings. Both must include affordable rental units for households with low to moderate income. You can apply anytime.
Apply for funding from the Affordable Housing Development Program to help fund the construction of new housing projects or the conversion of non-residential buildings.
You need to use the funding to create housing that includes affordable rental units for households with low to moderate income. Affordable housing is housing where the rent is below the average market rent (AMR) for the location.
Projects given priority for funding include housing development that:
- offers rent that’s at least 20% below average market rent
- offers rental units at affordable rental rates for more than the minimum 15-year affordability period
- includes at least 5 affordable rental units
- achieves higher-than-average social, economic or environmental outcomes
- involves co-operatives, non-profit housing providers or community housing groups
- has a plan for construction and operations that’s financially viable
- exceeds Building Code minimum standards for accessibility
- exceeds Building Code minimum standards for energy efficiency
Funding is available for up to 50% of the rental units in a project. For projects with fewer than 10 rental units, funding is available for up to 100% of the units. The applicant or other sources need to fund the remaining balance of the project.
The amount of funding your project receives is based on the:
- affordability period you’re proposing (15 years, 20 years or more)
- affordability of housing offered (for example, at least 20% below average market rent or more)
- social and environmental outcomes (for example, accessibility standards and energy efficiency)
You can use this funding in combination with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation programs like the National Housing Co-Investment Fund.
Eligible projects need to:
- be in Nova Scotia (but not on a reserve)
- be a single site, building or portfolio project with self-contained rental units (including single room and studio units) that provide permanent housing with 12-month tenancies (leases)
- create affordable rental units for low to moderate income households
- offer rent that’s at least 20% below average market rent for the location and be under the maximum rent allowed for the community based on household income limits
- be primarily residential
- include at least 5 affordable rental units and offer the units at affordable rental rates for at least 15 years
- involve new construction, conversion of a non-residential building or the renovation of an existing, fully vacant, multi-unit building
- be financially viable to build and operate for the entire affordability period
- meet Building Code minimum standards for energy efficiency and accessibility
- have a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment or environmental approvals through the Department of Environment and Climate Change for the proposed site (the site can’t be built on a flood plain or floodway fringe)
- not include additional fees for services (like internet, cable or storage) in proposed rent for affordable residential rental units (additional fees for services need to be optional)
- have reasonable access to personal and professional services, retail businesses, recreation facilities, educational institutions and public transportation (access to public transportation may be waived for communities where there’s demonstrated demand for proposed rental units)
The program also considers projects already under construction.
Ineligible projects include:
- renovations of occupied and semi-occupied rental properties
- Indigenous housing projects on reserves
- shelters or other forms of temporary housing
- transitional or secondary-stage housing
- supportive housing
- student-only housing
- manufactured homes (mobile homes) on steel chassis
- funding to buy existing rental properties
If you receive funding from the Affordable Housing Development Program, you need to submit annual reporting to confirm occupancy, tenant eligibility (on turnover) and rental rates for affordable rental units. You also need to meet compliance requirements.
Accessing the funding
Once a project is approved, the Affordable Housing Development Program provides a conditional approval letter and sample Project Contribution Agreement that outlines how funding is accessed and criteria the developer needs to meet within the first 6 months. If the developer meets the required criteria, the developer and the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing sign a Project Contribution Agreement.
You can apply for funding if you’re a private developer or community housing (co-operative or non-profit) developer.
You need to:
- be registered and in good standing with Registry of Joint Stock Companies or under provincial or territorial legislation in Canada and are authorized to operate in Nova Scotia
- have a minimum of 5 years of property management experience or engage a professional third-party property management company
- have successfully completed a similar scale project on time and on budget or you must have a fixed-price contract with a general contractor with experience building similar projects
- have financial resources to fund cost overruns
- meet equity requirements
Private developers need to make a minimum equity contribution of 20% of the project’s eligible capital development costs in the form of cash or unencumbered land.
Community housing groups need to make a minimum equity contribution of 5% of the project’s eligible capital development costs in the form of cash or unencumbered land.
How to apply
- Review detailed program criteria in the Affordable Housing Development Program Guide.
- Contact the Affordable Housing Development Program to discuss your project idea.
- Affordable Housing Development Program assigns an affordable housing specialist to work with you.
- Review the Proposal Guidelines for Developers as you work on your project proposal.
- Complete the Capital Costs and Pro-Forma Operating Budget Template.
- Send your project proposal and supporting documents by email.
- Affordable Housing Development Program reviews your proposal and completes a pre-evaluation eligibility check.
- If you pass the pre-evaluation eligibility check, you move on to the next step in the evaluation process. If you don’t pass the pre-evaluation eligibility check, the program lets you know that you won't advance to the next step in the evaluation process.
- Affordable Housing Development Program completes the evaluation process.
How long it takes
It should take 6 to 8 weeks for the Affordable Housing Development Program to review your project proposal and let you know if your loan is approved. It can take longer if more information is needed or if your proposal doesn’t include all the required information.
There is no cost to apply for the funding, but you need to be able to meet the minimum equity requirements (20% for private sector and 5% for community housing).
Before you start
Make sure you: