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Feds split rapid-housing cash between big cities, offer up rest for projects

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen in responds to the 2019 Spring Reports of the Auditor General in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen is calling the death of Somali-Canadian human rights worker Almaas Elman devastating news for himself and others. Elman was reportedly shot dead in her car while en route to the airport in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Fifteen cities will share $500 million in federal funding so they can buy properties being sold because of the COVID-19 pandemic and use them to help keep people from becoming homeless.

Canada’s biggest city, Toronto, will get the lion’s share of that funding pie with about $203 million.

Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen says the money to the big cities should be moving out in the next few days.

A further $500 million will be up for grabs for projects that will have to be completed within 12 months of federal officials giving the green-light for funding.

The figures provide details of a federal pledge last month to devote money to create or purchase 3,000 new affordable housing units across Canada.

Hussen has previously said he hopes to have most of the money spent before March 2021, when the federal fiscal year ends.