Frequently Asked Questions
1. Getting Started FAQ
1.2 When is the deadline to submit?
The deadline for application is no later than August 25th 2021 at 2pm EST. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
1.3 How much funding is available?
The Getting Started Round has two stages. In Stage 1, applicants submit a concept proposal for their solution. Up to 30 Stage 1 applicants will be recommended for shortlisting and proceed to Stage 2. Shortlisted applicants moving to Stage 2 will receive up to $75,000 of incubation funding to further develop their proof of concept.
The evaluation panel will select a suite of Stage 2 proposals to receive funding to implement and scale their solutions. There is no pre-determined number of funded solutions; funding recipients will share a pool of $38M within the Small, Medium and Large project categories.
1.4 What kinds of barriers are you looking to address?
Pre-development barriers might include long approval timelines, community resistance to projects and the people who will be housed there, processes that are not optimized to support expedient development of innovative and affordable new options, tensions between policy and implementation, and many other challenges. Please refer to the Applicant Guide for more details.
1.5 How will the funding recipients be chosen?
A panel of evaluators, selected based on their specific expertise, will score and assess applications for shortlisting and for funding. Selection will be based on a combination of score and the solution’s ability to reduce or remove pre-development barriers for housing that is affordable.
1.6 Who will be on the evaluation panel?
The evaluation panel will include CMHC and external subject matter experts from various sectors, e.g., municipal policy, housing development, planning, and finance, and who represent a variety of communities and regions. We are committed to assembling a diverse pan-Canadian panel to ensure a transparent and equitable evaluation process.
1.7 How will my application be reviewed?
All application forms and supplementary materials will be evaluated against the evaluation criteria outlined in the Applicant Guide. Shortlisting will be based on a combination of score and the solution’s overall contribution toward the round objectives.
1.9 How do I submit an application?
Applications will be accepted through the online applicant form on the Impact Canada website. If you require a paper version please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For guidance on filling out the applicant form, please refer to the Applicant Guide. Only materials submitted via the application form will be accepted and evaluated.
1.10 Where can I get help with my application? How much support am I going to get from Evergreen with my application?
The Housing Supply Challenge Support Program is a program run by Evergreen - a national not-for-profit helping make cities flourish. Evergreen support includes dedicated staff to respond to questions, webinars on specific elements of the Getting Started round, and a Networking Session. Please review the Applicant Guide for more information.
Participants can access the Housing Supply Challenge Support program online at: portal.futurecitiescanada.ca/participate/housing-solutions
1.11 What is the typical term of the contribution agreement?
Contribution agreements for implementation funding will be negotiated in summer 2022. All funding must be spent by March 2024 at the latest. The term of the CA will be no longer than 21 months.
1.12 How do you envision overlapping solutions from different teams?
The evaluation panel understands there may be shortlisted solutions that are similar, but with sufficient differences that make them all worth funding. Where appropriate, and if both teams consent, teams may choose to collaborate on one submission. Team composition may change from Stage 1 to Stage 2 provided the Lead Applicant remains the same.
1.13 What are some example solutions?
The examples are not intended as suggestions, but rather to demonstrate a range of potential responses to the challenge question. A list is available in Appendix C in the Applicant Guide.
1.14 Will there be something like a networking board for groups to connect?
Evergreen will be hosting opportunities for interested participants to connect through the Support Program. Please contact Evergreen for details.
1.15 Do you favour only brand-new units being produced?
The response is two-fold.
Building new housing units is very important, but it doesn’t help solve existing systemic barriers that continue to make housing unaffordable for many Canadians. The objective of the Housing Supply Challenge is to reduce or remove structural or systemic barriers to housing supply that hinder the creation of new housing units.
The Getting Started round is seeking solutions that address barriers in the pre-development process for new construction, conversion, or regeneration, and will not directly fund the creation of new units.
1.16 Could solutions include staff to explore funding mechanisms and approaches to incent and support developers to build affordable housing?
If your solution is shortlisted, the incubation funding provided can be used for staff and/or consultations. If the main premise of the solution is merely to hire more staff to clear a backlog, it may not meet the Getting Started Round’s objective to fund and implement longer term solutions that improve pre-development processes.
1.17 Are there any restrictions on commercialization of solutions during the implementation stage?
Yes. Commercialization is restricted for the duration of any funding agreements between a Lead Applicant and CMHC. This includes Incubation Funding and Implementation Funding. Participants may wish to commercialize solutions after the end of the Contribution Agreement (~March 2024).
1.18 Can two partners establish a company and apply?
Yes. Evaluators will be interested in the team’s capacity to deliver the solution so be sure to provide details in the “Applicant Capacity” section of the application form.
1.19 Is the HSC Program related to the Affordable Housing Challenge Toronto through Beebreeders?
The Housing Supply Challenge is a federal program and distinct from municipal initiatives.
1.20 What types of solutions qualify? Could it be anything like – data related, policy related, land access related, construction technology related, etc.?
Yes. There is no preconceived notion of what solutions should look like, and solutions can vary in approach as long as they meet the requirements of the Getting Started round. Please refer to the challenge statement and objectives to ensure your solution aligns with the goals of the Getting Started Round.
For policy related solutions, please ensure you include information about the feasibility of your solution, the key players crucial for successful implementation, and your preliminary plan to achieve buy in.
A solution focused on new building technology may fit well into the upcoming Construction Technology round.
Keep in mind that the Getting Started round is seeking systemic solutions and will not fund the acquisition of a specific site.
2. Questions from Getting Started Workshops
2.1 Can I apply to the second Round of the Challenge even if I applied to the first Round?
Yes, you can. Participants can only apply as a Lead Applicant once per round but they can apply to multiple rounds if they wish to. Note that the same project cannot be funded by more than one Housing Supply Challenge round, but participants can apply to multiple rounds with different projects / activities.
2.2 Do all sections on the application need to be completed?
Yes. If all required sections are not filled out by applicants, the application might be deemed incomplete and will not be evaluated. Questions that are optional are clearly marked.
2.3 Can Evergreen review my application?
The Support Program is not part of the evaluation panel, and as a result cannot confirm whether a project will be selected or review the application. The Support Program team is there to help participants understand the evaluation criteria laid out in the Applicant Guide, and align their project to the Challenge as best as possible. Support Program team members can answer questions and provide access to resources, workshops, and networking forums that may help potential applicants with their application.
2.4 Do we have to focus on a single geographic context or can the solution apply across Canada?
The Application Form asks to “specify the geographic area the barrier affects (e.g. city, neighbourhood, community, region, cluster of municipalities, etc.).” The geographic area could be all of Canada, but the reason why the identified barrier affects the entire geographic area and how your solution will address it across the full geographic area would have to be clearly defined.
The focus of this round is specifically on creating “local, implementable solutions that improve pre-development of housing that is affordable.” Consequently, applications to the Getting Started round should demonstrate how the solution is locally-supported.
2.5 Is it possible to apply for incubation funding in Stage 1 with one organization as the Lead Applicant, and then apply for implementation funding in Stage 2 with a different organization as the Lead Applicant?
The Lead Applicant must remain the same throughout the Getting Started round. That is to say, if your solution is selected for shortlisting in Stage 1, the Lead Applicant must stay the same for your Stage 2 application.
2.6 Is it possible to apply as a corporation that is legal, but inactive or not operational?
The Lead Applicant must be a legal entity duly incorporated and validly existing in Canada. If the entity is no longer incorporated, they would not be eligible.
2.7 Can incubation funding be used to pay the team members/staff for the time worked on the application before the submission?
No, expenses from before submission of the application are not eligible for incubation funding.
2.8 Can applicants attach a visual model or a letter of support to the application form (either online or with a paper application)?
No. Attachments of any visuals or diagrams are not being considered by the evaluation panel for Stage 1. This includes letters of support.
Applicants are encouraged to speak to the support they have received within their application form. If applicants have letters of support, they will be asked to include them in their Stage 2 submissions.
2.9 What level of detail should be included in the application form? For example, how detailed should the budget cost analysis and the people-centered design section be?
Appendix D of the Applicant guide states that the list of costed activities does not have to be a precise budget. Estimates and a general overview of what the project will involve are sufficient.
Similarly, the people-centered design section of the application doesn’t require that the applicants immediately map out every potential group and stakeholder involved in their project. Rather, it is a space to show how people-centered design will be incorporated in the solutions and to begin thinking about the many groups who will need to be consulted for the implementation of the solution.
2.10 Can I apply with more than one solution or try to address more than one barrier?
Applicants can mention more than one barrier so long as they are directly addressed by your solution. If the solution addresses multiple barriers, we recommend that applicants focus on the main ones.
Each lead applicant can only submit one application with one solution per round.
2.11 What will be the topics of future rounds of the Challenge?
Future rounds of the Housing Supply Challenge are expected to focus on topics such as Northern Housing (Winter 2022), Construction Technology (2022), Scaling Solutions (Date TBC), and Public Perception of New Development (Date TBD).
2.12 Are the costs and timeline in section 4.2 of the application form related to the entire project or predevelopment only? Are we talking about the entire project from predevelopment to construction or the predevelopment part only?
Section 4.2 of the application form asks you to provide a broad list of costed activities you will undertake if you are shortlisted in order to develop the implementation plan for your solution prior to the Stage 2 deadline. In this section, you should describe what activities you undertake within the November 2021 to April 2022 Stage 2 timeline, using the up to $75,000 in incubation funding. At this stage, you do not need exact costs, just broad estimates. It is also important to emphasize that this round will not fund predevelopment activities for a specific housing development or the construction of units.
2.13 Does the evaluation panel look at how long a company has been established?
At Stage 1, the evaluation panel will consider the experience and capacity of the project team, and whether they have the expertise to carry the solution through to Stage 2. You will have the opportunity to elaborate on your team’s capacity in Section 4 (Applicant Capacity and Feasibility) of the application form. Ensure to highlight all team members, their expertise, and their role on the project team. If there are any key gaps, make sure you describe how these will be addressed in Stage 2.
Yes, you may create a new company to apply for the Challenge.
2.14 Could I look at an area that has well documented barriers of affordable housing without being from that area? (for example, can you be from one place in Canada, but look at a specific issue say in northern Canada for example)
Yes. However, the Getting Started round places a strong emphasis on locally relevant and people-centered solutions. Consider who will use your solution and who will be affected by it, and who you will need on your team to ensure it can be successfully implemented. Refer to Appendix B in the Applicant Guide for more guidance.
3. General FAQ
Interested participants are encouraged to check the Housing Supply Challenge’s Applicant Portal to stay on top of important dates, and learn of available resources. Interested participants are also encouraged to reach out to Evergreen to access the Housing Supply Challenge Support Program online at: portal.futurecitiescanada.ca/participate/housing-solutions
Applicants can also email Evergreen at
3.1. How did you come up with the Challenge round topics?
CMHC experts on housing supply from across the corporation contributed to the portfolio of topics. Feedback on a tentative shortlist of topics was collected during a series of workshops that took place across the country in January and February 2020.
Published references for the topic list include the National Housing Strategy “Let’s Talk Housing: What We Heard” document and CMHC’s Escalating House Prices report.
3.2 We need more housing. Why aren't you using the money to build more units?
Building new housing units is very important, but it doesn’t help solve existing systemic barriers that continue to make housing unaffordable for many Canadians. The National Housing Strategy and CMHC toolkit of programs includes many initiatives to support new residential construction. The objective of the Housing Supply Challenge is to address structural or systemic barriers to housing supply that hinder the creation of new housing units.
3.3 I got funding from another CMHC program already - can I apply to the HSC?
Yes, provided your proposal meets the requirements of both programs. However, applicants will be asked to explain how the funding will be used for different pieces of the proposal.
3.4 Can I still apply to another CMHC program with the same idea if I don't get funding through the HSC?
Yes, provided your proposal meets the requirements of the program. You can visit www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/nhs for more information on other programs such as Seed, Innovation Fund, Solution Labs, and more.
3.5 I have an idea, but I am not currently affiliated with a legal entity that can accept a contribution agreement on my behalf. How can I participate?
Interested participants who don’t meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to team up with an eligible Lead Applicant and submit an application together. The Applicant Support Program provided by Evergreen may be able to support participants in connecting with one another and identifying potential opportunities for collaboration. Forming a team is not required and it is completely up to applicants if they see advantages in doing so.
3.6 What benefits are there to participating in this Challenge, other than the funding if selected?
Applicants participating in the Housing Supply Challenge may gain valuable experience navigating a Challenge structure to apply for funding. Applicants will have a chance to connect with one another and develop collaborations that may go beyond the Challenge. Shortlisted Stage 2 applicants will have their solutions posted online where consent is given, opening the opportunity to others in the field to take interest in applicants’ ideas. CMHC will be promoting the Challenge through various outreach streams, including social media.
Through the Housing Supply Challenge Support Program run by Evergreen, Stage 2 applicants will also have access to education modules covering various topics that support design thinking and problem framing.
3.7 Can multiple faculties/departments within a university/organization apply to the Challenge?
Lead Applicants can only submit one application (ie, a university can only be a lead applicant once). If various departments and faculties are interested, they are encouraged to work together. Organizations can participate on multiple teams as a partner to a different Lead Applicant, but cannot be a Lead Applicant more than once per round. If an organization submits multiple applications as Lead Applicant, they will be asked to choose which application they wish to proceed to evaluation.
3.8 Will CMHC own my idea after the challenge is finished?
Participants will retain ownership of their solution but application materials will become CMHC property (description of project, application form, etc).
3.9 If I apply as part of a team with someone affiliated with another legal entity, how will the implementation funding be awarded?
Contribution agreements will be negotiated with the Lead Applicant. Any arrangements between the Lead Applicant and Team members are strictly the responsibility of the Lead Applicant. CMHC is not liable for any outcome from those arrangements.
3.10 If my team were to receive funding, will CMHC be providing tax slips?
Teams must be associated with a Canadian legal entity and must seek their own legal/taxation advice for how they will report their income. CMHC has no obligation to issue tax slips.
3.11 Which housing markets is the challenge focused on? Any big cities in particular?
The Housing Supply Challenge is a national program, and applications are welcome from any community, large or small, across the country for the Getting Started round.