The Government of Canada has announced changes to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) lending programs supporting existing social housing projects.

The Government — effective immediately — will be accepting the prepayment of closed CMHC mortgages with a yield maintenance prepayment penalty consistent with private lending institutions for eligible existing social housing projects that require capital repairs and renovations.

“(This) announcement will benefit lower-income households living in existing social housing, including individuals, families, seniors, persons with disabilities and Aboriginal people by helping to renew Canada’s affordable housing stock,” said Diane Finley, minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. “It will also create jobs and economic growth — two of our government’s top priorities.”

The changes will allow non-profit and co-operative housing sponsor groups to refinance in order to undertake needed capital repairs and renovations and extend the life of their projects.

“This new approach to ending CMHC mortgages will be warmly welcomed by housing co-operatives across Canada,” said Nicholas Gazzard, executive director of Co-operative Housing Federation (CHF) of Canada. “It will enable them to get on with the major repairs and modernization of their housing that they are ready to begin.”

Currently the Government invests $1.7 billion a year in support of more than 600,000 households living in existing social houses across Canada.