Sustainable Housing Initiative (SHI)

Visit the official SHI website

About the Initiative

RDN's Sustainable Housing Initiative is dedicated to the development of cost-effective, innovative, and sustainable housing within rural communities across Canada. To date, SHI has developed a guide to developing affordable housing and has created the expertise to provide capacity and consulting services such as our Enabling Housing Choice project. These are tailored to the unique needs of rural communities so that financially sustainable affordable housing can be developed successfully. Contact us to learn more about our services.

The Step-By-Step Guide to Developing Affordable Housing

We created a guide, the first edition which received the CMHC Gold Roof Award for Housing Research Excellence, to help take the mystery out of affordable housing. Groups can follow the Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Affordable Housing throughout the planning and creation of their project. It leads them through the necessary steps to ensure their project proceeds and that it is financially sustainable.

This free, comprehensive guide aims to save communities valuable time and resources by acting as a walkthrough on how to successfully develop, build, and manage affordable housing. The guide collates unique projects and showcases a wide array of owner/operator models including: private developers, not-for-profit groups, and local municipal governments. The guide also includes some helpful templates and worksheets that groups can use when they create and plan their project.

One of the first projects supported through this initiative is the YWCA Banff Courtyard Project. This 33-unit, 3-storey cost-effective project will produce net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and provide affordable rental housing for up to 78 residents who face barriers to finding suitable accommodation. The Courtyard Project will have at least four suites that are barrier-free for people with accessibility needs.

The 2nd Edition of the guide was developed with support from the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Green Municipal Fund, and New Market Funds. The Rural Development Network is grateful for their support, without which this project would have not been possible.

View the full article on CMHC's website.

Request your copy of the Guide.

The National Housing Strategy's Affordable Housing Innovation Fund

Through the National Housing Strategy’s Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, the Government of Canada awarded $10 million to SHI for the development of at least 8 affordable housing projects that:

  • Meet net-zero energy-efficiency targets
  • Are constructed using shipping containers, and
  • Use psychology of aesthetics design to improve the physical and mental well-being of tenants.

This funding was also used to develop the Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Affordable Housing.

    For more information, Please Contact:

    Linda Bernicki