Absolutely, and thanks for the question.
We know that as co-ops come to the end of their operating agreements and their first mortgages there are two really big things that happen.
One is that low-income households living in housing co-operatives lose the rental assistance subsidy that allows them to stay affordably housed. That's why it has been the focus of our movement to campaign for the renewal of rental assistance programs, or the creation of new rental assistance programs, which have come in as a part of the national housing strategy through the federal community housing initiative and the Canada community housing initiative. The delivery of those programs has not been uniform across the different provinces and territories, so there's a lot to be preoccupied and concerned about there.
The second piece is that we're talking about 30- or 40-year-old buildings. Some of these were actually acquisitions and rehabilitations, so they require significant reinvestments for modernization. What we've done as a sector is create financing programs to link co-ops up with their credit unions to do a long-term asset management plan and to finance long-term modernization and repair.
Once the preoccupation with rental assistance for low-income households is addressed and resolved, once the repair and renewal question is resolved—and through our programming across the sector, we've already tapped into about $130 million in credit union lending to help with the modernization of co-operatives—we also have some capacity, as we have seen within some of our members, to look to buy some land, acquire something and build something new. We're just on the cusp of this new wave of growth of housing co-operatives.
However, it is a highly competitive and expensive housing market out there, and we're really outbid and out-positioned by the big guys. That makes it really hard to develop new autonomously owned, locally owned, co-operative homes.