The Canadian government is committing $10 million in federal funding to help 200 Black families in the Greater Toronto Area purchase their first home.

Ahmed Hussen, the minister of housing, diversity and inclusion, made the announcement during a news conference Friday morning, saying the funding will be given to the BlackNorth Homeownership Bridge Program in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Toronto.

“There's no part of our society where Black Canadians don't face systemic barriers, including when it comes to having a safe and affordable place to call home,” Hussen told news reporters on Friday.

“Consistently, we see Black Canadians with higher housing needs and with lower home ownership numbers, far significantly lower than the average population, and we recognize that there is a systemic issue here that needs to be addressed.”

The new funding will help 200 Black families purchase their first home in the GTA within the next four years under the Shared Equity Mortgage Provider fund. It will help the homebuyers reduce their monthly mortgage without increasing the amount they pay toward the down payment.

Hussen said that the program is designed to ensure that these homes remain affordable across multiple owners and multiple generations, while also “building strength and generational wealth through their home.”

“Having lived in a social housing unit many years ago, I know the value of having a safe and affordable place to call home and what that does to enable an individual like myself and others to access opportunities,” Hussen said.

“Housing makes a huge difference. When you have access to a safe and affordable roof over your head, it makes the difference between just getting by or actually getting ahead.”

Dahabo Ahmed-Omer, the executive director at The BlackNorth Initiative, said the new funding is essential to support Black families in the GTA. She said many people are not aware of how deeply racialized the path to homeownership is.

Ahmed-Omer said that in higher income brackets where housing is mainly owned, 73 per cent of homeowners are white, while in lower income brackets where housing is mainly rented, 69 per cent of residents belong to racialized minorities.

Recent federal government studies have shown that Black Canadians have one of the lowest home ownership rates in the country. Statistics Canada data shows that 48 per cent of the Black population lived in a home that was owned by a household member in 2018. In comparison, the national home ownership rate of the population was 73 per cent.

“BlackNorth Homeownership Bridge Program is more than an affordable housing strategy. It is an economic and racial inclusion strategy,” she said. “This program is designed as a practical approach to mobilize all levels of society to continue working together to address systemic racism in Canada.”

“We know this program will uplift generation to come by enabling working Black families in the Greater Toronto Area. Through this program, families with household incomes from $65,000 can become homeowners and build home equity that can bring prosperity to future generations.”

She said the BlackNorth Homeownership Bridge Program aims to address inequities across the country, but the initial focus is to create a pilot in the GTA that can be scaled nationally.