Madam Speaker, I just spoke with a London city councillor about the impact the tragedy of the last few days has had on her community and on the city of London. I am also thinking of members of my own riding, their walks to mosque and what that is like these days. I too would like to add my voice to a chorus of voices that are calling for us all as Canadians to be better in fighting racism and Islamophobia. That is where my heart is, even if the words that I am now going to share are focused on housing.
I have often risen in this House and said anytime the House of Commons talks about housing, it is a good day. No one will ever find an MP who fights harder for more affordable housing, whether the choice is to own or rent. It is a fundamental human right and I am very proud to be part of a government that has legislated the right to housing into a national housing strategy, that has brought forth federal leadership, which started to disappear in the late 1980s and was devastated by the cuts that were made in the early 1990s. I am very proud to be part of a government that has changed course. I am very proud that my party has embraced housing as a federal responsibility and has invested now close to $72 billion and beyond, if we include some of the indigenous investments as well, to change the conversation on housing in this country.
The Conservatives will talk about market solutions and New Democrats will talk about social housing, but my party will talk about both. While the Bloc may think it is just a federal responsibility, the reality is that housing Canadians and meeting the fundamental rights of Canadians is all governments' responsibility. Whether it is an indigenous government, a municipal government, a provincial government or a federal government, we all must tackle this housing crisis together, we all must end homelessness together and we all must make sure that Canadians have a housing system that meets their needs and supports their choices, whether it is to rent or own.
Our government has made historic investments. If we take the rapid housing initiative alone, with $1 billion over the last six months, it created 4,777 units of housing for homeless individuals. That $1 billion did more in six months than the Harper Conservatives did in eight years. We have added $1.5 billion to that program and hope to get even more remarkable results.
What is also amazing about that particular investment is that as we move toward an urban, rural and northern indigenous-led housing strategy and deliver on that program, while working very hard with indigenous housing providers to realize the funding and that program, almost a third of the housing that was delivered to the rapid housing initiative was delivered to indigenous housing providers in urban, rural and northern spaces. The largest investment in the history of the Northwest Territories was part of that announcement and for the programs and projects that we could not pick up through rapid housing, we applied the co-investment fund.
Let me help the House understand exactly how the national housing strategy is working and how much more work it needs to do. As I said, I will always support a call for more action, more investment and more thought on this issue. The national housing strategy approaches every single component of the spectrum of housing, from homelessness to people with high-income needs that require deep subsidies to secure their housing. We have to also make sure that people who are in rental housing are protected in that space, can afford their rental housing and save to buy a house, if that is the choice they want to make. We also have to make sure there are pathways and bridges to home ownership for new buyers so that people can secure their place in the housing market and the housing system in this country.
However, we also have to make sure that the market is stable. While I have no interest in protecting the speculative equity that is created in the housing sector, that is not my focus, we have to make sure that when people purchase homes, the market does not collapse around them and erode the principal they put down to acquire their housing. We have to protect the housing market as we also deliver social housing solutions, as we make sure we end chronic homelessness in this country and deal with the different regional, urban, rural and northern dynamics that challenge so many people in this country to find safe, secure and affordable housing.
Our national housing strategy, the $72-billion program, addresses all of these issues, from supply to maintenance to subsidy to purpose-built supportive housing. It is a comprehensive strategy that I am very proud of, but it is built on almost 50 years of housing policy in this country. In fact, if we go back far enough, to the 1800s, we will see that the west was settled with offers of free homes. It has always been a federal policy to secure the growth of this country with strong investments in housing.
What has the national housing strategy accomplished? Let us review some of the accomplishments and take a look at the plan that was introduced in 2017. It was a $40-billion plan, but in every single budget, we have added additional dollars to get more supply, more options and more choice in front of Canadians.
As we look at some of the extraordinary records, one of them is the move to get purpose-built rental housing being built again in this country. We have invested, as the member who introduced the motion identified, close to $25 billion in supports to deliver new purpose-built rental housing.
When I was a city councillor in Toronto, we were building fewer than 60 purpose-built rental housing units every decade. There are now 2,400 units being built in my riding alone. That is across the street in the new Toronto Centre riding, where there is purpose-built rental housing in partnership with the private sector. These new, permanent affordable housing units are just the start, because we have added additional dollars. There is a major program coming out with an indigenous group in Vancouver, the Musgamagw, that is also now getting support from our government. Why? Because we have a program that focuses on purpose-built rental housing.
That is one part of it, but there is also the co-investment fund. The co-investment fund was ridiculed by the House leader for the NDP. He said we should not be focusing on repairing housing units. I was at a housing announcement in Burnaby where we stepped up and repaired a co-op housing program. If we had not stepped up, it would have lost the units of housing. We would lose affordable housing just where we need to build it.
The co-investment fund provides funding to get projects started. It provides funding to repair social housing and government housing. There is a $1.3-billion transfer to the City of Toronto to deal with TCHC's repair backlog. That funding protocol has now been replicated in Hamilton where it is tackling its funding backlog. It has also been attached to the city of Victoria. The city of Victoria was very close to being at functional zero on homelessness before COVID happened and ran into some headwinds, but the co-investment fund has partnered to deliver hundreds and hundreds of units. I have been there with Mayor Helps to open the units, to look at the units to see their very imaginative approach to building housing.
The targets and the dollars that are arriving are substantial. There is also the rapid housing initiative, but partnered with that is the reaching home program. The reaching home program, which started out as the homelessness partnership strategy, introduced by a Liberal government in the late nineties, untouched by the Conservatives for their eight years in rule, has not only been doubled in size, which is what we did in our first budget in 2015, the funding is now a half a billion dollars a year.
To put that in contrast to where the NDP members want to take it, if we go back to their 2015 election campaign, they promised a one-time infusion of $60 million into the homelessness partnership strategy and that was it. We not only doubled that investment immediately, but at the start of COVID we doubled it again and now we have made that doubling of the reaching home program close to $400 million to $500 million a year over the next three years. We wired that into the system to help us realize the goal of ending chronic homelessness.
The other thing that our national housing strategy has done, which is quite remarkable, is that it has restored the funding agreements and the subsidies to co-op housing right across the country. These were set to expire. If we had done nothing, if we had not taken office in 2015, the federal government would be spending less than $1 billion a year on housing right now. That was the Conservative trajectory for social housing.
Not only have we invested $72 billion in construction and repair, but the subsidies we put in place are making housing even more affordable for people. For example, the co-ops that saw their agreements expire have now been picked up and reinvested in. Subsidies to the rent geared to income have been restored, not just to the co-ops that were still on the books, but also the ones that lapsed while the Conservatives were in power. We brought them back on. This year's budget finishes that job and brings the entire co-op sector into one unified program for the very first time in the history of the country. Instead of having these agreements expire overnight, they are now on a timetable under the national housing strategy legislation. That agreement must be renewed before it expires in 2027. We have the co-op housing sector back whole and we are starting to build. In fact, I just had a text message from the Co-op Housing Federation of Toronto that seed money for a new co-op has just been advanced by CMHC and I had thanks from the federation.
We are now in the position of building and adding to the co-op sector because is exactly what the national housing strategy envisioned. We have put federal lands into the mix and we are adding federal lands where we can to the housing programs. In Ottawa, for example, there is a new housing project that is being built on federal lands with federal support to realize the housing aspirations of the city of Ottawa and the Region of Ottawa-Carleton.
Everywhere we go across the country, we are seeing change happen. Is it enough? Of course it is not enough. As long as we have people sleeping in tents, in ravines and by rivers, as long as we have homeless shelters still populated by people without housing, there will be work to do.
This government has set about changing what I think was the biggest mistake a Liberal government ever made, which was the cancellation of the national housing programs in the early nineties. It has reinvested now and brought back a strong, cohesive and comprehensive policy that is moving the dial in the right direction on every single housing front.
However, the issue being spoken to in this motion is not the social housing investments we have made. It is about how we are helping first-time buyers achieve their dream of home ownership. We put in a tax on offshore speculators, we brought in new rules around beneficial ownership to disclose who is behind some of these very questionable real estate deals and we put in a shared equity agreement for first-time homebuyers. For the first time ever, CMHC is starting to model its programs around regional housing markets and not just here in Canada as one large housing market. Hopefully this spurs even more people on to home ownership.
We are also bringing in new block funding for things like Habitat for Humanity, which is now working with equity-deserving groups, equity-seeking groups, to meet the housing needs of very particular communities that have very low rates of home ownership to help secure their movement into the middle class and to secure their place in Canadian society and the Canadian economy.
That $58-million block grant to Habitat for Humanity is also starting to build homes in indigenous communities as well. I was up in Tobermory with the Chippewas of Nawash to watch them as they broke ground and started the construction of 19 new homes, which was funded with Habitat for Humanity program dollars but supported with national housing strategy funding as well.
Everywhere one goes from coast to coast to coast, whether it is Nanaimo, Kelowna, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto or St. John's, one can find national housing strategy money at work. Is it enough? No. As long as we have a housing crisis, we have work to do and more to invest.
What I can say is that going back to the days of the Conservatives, where we had a prime minister who did not want to touch housing policy, where we have a party that thinks it is only a question of supply but only supply into the private sector and only supply as it relates to first-time homebuyers, is not going to work. If we allow the continual creep of financialization and we do not support our partner governments in delivering housing, we are simply not going to solve this crisis.
The $72-billion program is moving every one of those parts of the housing continuum forward, and we are finding new ways to do it in ways that are innovative, from modular housing to barging houses up to Iqaluit and realizing the renewal of housing with loans for the greening of our housing stock and the upgrading of the energy performance and making it more livable. We are also doing things like requiring to overachieve on energy efficiency in new builds when it comes to social housing.
We are also, for the first time ever, requiring that universal design be a characteristic of all new builds at 20%. We are also providing funds to retrofit old buildings to make them more accessible for people with disabilities. We are also making sure when we partner up that we lock in provincial spending levels so as federal dollars arrive at the front door, provincial governments are not allowed to take it out the back door and simply tread water.
We are also working with our infrastructure dollars to make sure transit investments have a positive impact on social housing construction, and we are tying social housing goals to our infrastructure investments to make sure as we invest and create strong communities, we build communities for all. Again, it is not part of the national housing strategy but it is part of this government's approach to housing and making sure all Canadians have the housing opportunities they need and have their choices realized.
I respect the fact it has been a very difficult year in the housing market for Canadians and respect the fact some of the ideas the Conservatives are talking about require more action on the part of this government. I understand it, but to say we have done nothing is wrong. To say we have not focused on every part of the housing continuum is wrong as well. To say it is only a question of social housing, market housing or supply is equally oversimplifying a very complex issue.
I am proud to be part of a government that has restored leadership in federal housing. I am proud to be part of a government that is building more co-ops, more rentals and more homes for more people than at any other time in the last 30 years in this country. I agree, there is more to do, and we will continue to add dollars to the national housing strategy, new chapters.
The next one coming is the urban, rural and northern indigenous housing program for indigenous by indigenous. We are building on the report from the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, we are building with the housing advisory council and we are building with indigenous housing providers to deliver on that commitment, and we will.
Until we have every Canadian housed, we are open to criticism. All governments will be open to criticism. Until we solve this housing crisis, there will be work to be done. I hope that all parliamentarians will join me in supporting the initiatives we presented in budget 2021.
I hope the Conservatives can reverse course and start voting for things like a tax on vacant and foreign-owned homes. I hope they can support our measures around benefits for home ownership. I hope they can support the rapid housing investment of $1.5 billion, the rapid housing 2.0 that I spoke of, to deliver even more housing to the most vulnerable Canadians.
I hope they can find it in their hearts to start supporting the investments we are making on reserves and with the distinctions-based programs with the Métis council, the ITK, AFN and partner indigenous governments.
I hope they can support the movements we have made around investing in repairs, boosting the Canada housing benefit and targeting in particular women escaping domestic violence, because we know how hard women in that sector have it when they look for housing with their kids, coming out of a very dangerous and precarious place.
I hope they can support more than doubling the investments we are making in Reaching Home, and now the half-billion-dollar annual investments.
I hope they can reverse the policy they used to have, which forbade federal funds to support young teenagers who are homeless. They actually had a policy, which was one of the most mind-blowing policies any government has ever produced around housing. The Conservative government under Stephen Harper had a policy that if a young person was homeless on the street, they had to stay homeless for six months before federal dollars could support them getting into permanent housing.
Imagine taking the most vulnerable kids in this country and punishing them for six months for running away from home. At the time, the minister said they did not want to incent young people to run away from home. People run away from home to live on the street because they are escaping an even more precarious and dangerous situation. Instead of finding a way to house young people, the Conservative government actually, by policy, left those kids on the street for six months before it would allow Reaching Home dollars to support them with rent supplements.
Policy after policy after policy in the Conservative playbook did nothing for the hardest to house in this country. As I said, when I covered my last story as a reporter, I was so infuriated by the Conservatives' approach to housing that I left journalism and entered politics at the local level. When I saw no progress being made in Ottawa at all, I left city council and ran federally to re-establish leadership on this file. I am very proud of the response that the Prime Minister and cabinet have had. I am very proud of the work our caucus has done. I am very proud of the work of a lot of opposition members who have housing projects in their community.
To pretend that we have done nothing is just political spin. To demand we do more is the demand we hear every day from our constituents and the people we represent. We are with them on that path to do more and do better, because more is possible; better is always possible. There is more to do. There is more to come, and we will not rest until the right to housing is realized by all Canadians, regardless of which choice they want to make, to rent or to own. Whichever part of the country they choose to live in, we have a responsibility as the federal government to create a housing system that meets their needs.
Our national housing strategy, now at $72 billion, does exactly that. We will work with our partner orders of government, indigenous, municipal, provincial and territorial, to deliver on these commitments. We are not done yet, but it is getting better. As it gets better, I hope the opposition parties can join us in pushing even more housing through the budget process, even more housing through the approval process, and get Canadians the housing they rightfully deserve.