The Federal Community Housing Initiative Phase 2 (FCHI-2), is a new rental assistance program set to begin April 1, 2020 for housing co-ops with federally administered agreements in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, and PEI reaching the end of their operating agreements. Enrollment for this program begins six months before the end of a co-op’s operating agreement.
The Agency for Co-operative Housing has confirmed that all co-ops with March 2020 agreement end dates have responded to CMHC during the opt-in/opt-out process. However, a large number of these co-ops had incomplete or incorrect forms, and CMHC followed up between January 6 – 15, 2020 to complete the forms. The information co-ops provided in the opt-in forms is the basis of determining the amount of assistance CMHC will provide, so it is important to provide all the information requested.
Beyond the opt-in process, we understand there are still many questions that remain unanswered by CMHC about the program details. CMHC continues to say they are committed to having the program begin April 1, 2020. CMHC plans to offer training sessions on the new program and agreement in February.
We understand this program will work similarly to the Section 95 program, in that co-ops will receive a fixed sum each month for income-tested assistance. This enables the co-op to reduce the housing charges of eligible members to a given percentage of their household income. This will require a new agreement between the co-op and CMHC for the duration of the rental assistance program, until 2028.
The Agency will be administering the program on behalf of CMHC for eligible co-ops in BC, Alberta, Ontario, and PEI.
Together with CHF Canada, CHF BC continues to seek clarification and full program information to be shared with co-ops as soon as possible. We know that co-ops require time to process the new agreement in order to make the best decisions for their community.