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Former union rep and Vancouver city councillor now a real estate executive helping hungry kids – Vancouver Sun

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“After all those years on council, I know there is a dire need for people to be helped,” said Raymond Louie


Raymond Louie and Khalid Jamal at Strathcona Community Centre in Vancouver.


Arlen Redekop / PNG

Raymond Louie may have risen from the mailroom to the boardroom in the last 30 years — dumping his overalls for a suit and tie — but he has kept his same social conscience.

In his early working life, Louie was bundling newspapers in the noisy, viewless basement of the old Pacific Press building on Granville and West Sixth.

Now as chief operating officer of Coromandel Properties, he can admire Coal Harbour and the North Shore mountains from the luxury of the 18th floor of 1188 West Georgia.

“I was a union rep, too, back then,” said Louie, invoking his leftish credentials that led him to take a detour into municipal politics, first with COPE and then with Vision Vancouver, serving 16 years on Vancouver city council.

Louie joined Coromandel a year ago and is responsible for the real estate company’s development, construction and acquisition departments.

But his concern also stretches to what he sees and hears about how the poor are faring in the city, especially children suffering from poverty.

“After all those years on council, I know there is a dire need for people to be helped. It’s a persistent challenge and it requires a persistent effort,” said Louie.

“That’s why we want to help through Adopt-A-School.”

The Coromandel Foundation has committed $90,000 to Adopt-A-School over four years.

The $22,500-a-year donation will be used to help children attending Strathcona Elementary, Britannia Elementary, Xpey’ Elementary, Vancouver Technical Secondary School, and the KidSafe Project Society.

“Because it’s a persistent problem, we want to commit to those programs for four years, to support kids and their families,” said Louie.

This year, the Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund, which runs Adopt-A-School, is being asked for approximately $1 million from schools across the province that need to feed and clothe children arriving each morning in various stages of distress.

The five projects Coromandel is supporting are seeking a total of $135,000 this year from Adopt-A-School. The schools need money for food, clothes or to help families in case of financial emergencies.

Strathcona Elementary (in conjunction with the adjacent community centre) needs almost $60,000 from Adopt-A-School to feed children and for emergency funds to help impoverished families when there is no other place for them to turn.

The community centre also needs kitchen equipment to store food distributed on weekends to families who would otherwise go hungry.

This year, $38,488 is needed from Adopt-A-School to pay the cost of feeding 205 children each afternoon in Strathcona’s after-school child care program.

The community centre feeds 150 impoverished children and adults breakfast each day. It also distributes food in backpacks to get 175 families through the weekend. There are more than 400 children being fed this way.

The community centre is also requesting $4,780 to upgrade its food storage capacity and replace old and broken kitchen equipment.

The money would be used to expand food shelves, buy a double-door cooler and a new high-volume toaster necessary for the breakfast program.

Margaret Jorgensen was once principal of Strathcona Elementary and knows how necessary it is for families there to be fed.

“Food security is available to all families all of the time,” said Jorgensen, a board member of the Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund. “These food programs support those living in poverty.”

By providing food in school, “families can stretch their food budgets so that children and parents all get more,” she said.

“Strathcona school and community centre ensure that all children have access to breakfast, lunch and after-school food as well as weekend food in a non-stigmatizing way.”

And who, she asks, would argue against children having a “food secure life”?

Certainly not Louie — now a civilian after quitting politics — who visited Strathcona Community Centre to meet with staff.

“It’s important for us to help where we can,” he said.

“Our commitment as a company is to family, community and the environment. These are our core beliefs and when we see these social problems we feel we must respond.”

gbellett@gmail.com

vansunkidsfund.ca

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Real eState

What Is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

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The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is a Canadian Crown Corporation that serves as the national housing agency of Canada and provides mortgage loans to prospective buyers, particularly those in need.

Understanding the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) serves as the national housing agency of Canada. CMHC is a state-owned enterprise, or a Crown corporation, that provides a range of services for home buyers, the government, and the housing industry.

CMHC’s stated mission is to “promote housing affordability and choice; to facilitate access to, and competition and efficiency in the provision of, housing finance; to protect the availability of adequate funding for housing, and generally to contribute to the well-being of the housing sector.”1

A primary focus of CMHC is to provide federal funding for Canadian housing programs, particularly to buyers with demonstrated needs. CMHC, headquartered in Ottawa, provides many additional services to renters and home buyers, including mortgage insurance and financial assistance programs. CMHC acts as an information hub for consumers, providing information on renting, financial planning, home buying, and mortgage management.

CMHC also provides mortgage loan insurance for public and private housing organizations and facilitates affordable, accessible, and adaptable housing in Canada.2 Additionally, CMHC provides financial assistance and housing programs to First Nations and Indigenous communities in Canada.3

Professionals and Consumers

CMHC provides services to both professionals and consumers. For professionals, CMHC aims to work in collaboration with different groups to provide affordable housing. Services include project funding and mortgage financing, providing information to understand Canada’s housing market, innovation and leadership networks to access funding and talent to spur housing innovation and increase supply, and providing speakers and hosting events for the industry.4

For consumers, CMHC seeks to provide all the tools an individual would need to either buy a home or rent a home and a variety of information and assistance for current homeowners, such as managing a mortgage, services for seniors to age in place, and financial hardship assistance.56

For financial hardship and mortgage assistance, CMHC provides tools that include payment deferrals, extending the repayment period, adding missed payments to the mortgage balance, moving from a variable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage, and other special payment arrangements.7

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the National Housing Strategy

In November 2017, the Canadian government announced the National Housing Strategy.8 Rooted in the idea that housing is a human right, this 10-year, $70 billion project will largely be administered by CMHC, although some services and deliverables will be provided by third-party contractors and other Canadian federal agencies.9

Strategic initiatives of the National Housing Strategy include:

  • Building new affordable housing and renewing existing affordable housing stock
  • Providing technical assistance, tools, and resources to build capacity in the community housing sector and funds to support local organizations
  • Supporting research, capacity-building, excellence, and innovation in housing research10

History of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

CMHC was established in 1946 as the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation by the federal government in Canada with the primary mission of administering the National Housing Act and the Home Improvement Loans Guarantee Act and facilitating discounts to mortgage companies. Initially, CMHC began by providing housing to returning Canadian war veterans, and toward the end of the 1940s, CMHC began to administer a program providing low-income housing across Canada.11

In 1947, CMHC was responsible for opening Regent Park, a large low-income housing project, and Toronto’s first urban renewal project. By the 1960s, CMHC introduced co-op housing and multi-unit apartment buildings throughout Canada.11

In 1979, the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation changed its name to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

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Real eState

Canadian home price gains accelerate again in May

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Canadian home prices accelerated again in May from the previous month, posting the largest monthly rise in the history of the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, data showed on Thursday.

The index, which tracks repeat sales of single-family homes in 11 major Canadian markets, rose 2.8% on the month in May, led by strong month-over-month gains in the Ottawa-Gatineau capital region, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in Hamilton, Ontario.

“It was a third consecutive month in which all 11 markets of the composite index were up from the month before,” said Daren King, an economist at National Bank of Canada, in a note.

On an annual basis, the Teranet index was up 13.7% from a year earlier, the 10th consecutive acceleration and the strongest 12-month gain since July 2017.

Halifax led the year-over-year gains, up 29.9%, followed by Hamilton at 25.5% and Ottawa-Gatineau at 22.8%.

Housing price gains in smaller cities outside Toronto and its immediate suburbs again outpaced the major urban centers, with Barrie, Ontario leading the pack, up 31.4%.

On a month-over-month basis, prices rose 4.9% in Ottawa-Gatineau, 4.3% in Halifax and 3.7% in Hamilton.

The Teranet index measures price gains based on the change between the two most recent sales of properties that have been sold at least twice.

Canada‘s average home selling price, meanwhile, fell 1.1% in May from April, Canadian Real Estate Association data showed on Tuesday, but jumped 38.4% from May 2020.

 

(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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Economy

Bank of Canada seeing signs of cooling in hot housing market

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The Bank of Canada is starting to see signs that the country’s red hot housing market is cooling down, although a return to a normality will take time, Governor Tiff Macklem said on Wednesday.

The sector surged in late 2020 and early 2021, with home prices escalating sharply amid investor activity and fear of missing out. The national average selling price fell 1.1% in May from April but was still up 38.4% from May 2020.

“You are starting to see some early signs of some slowing in the housing market. We are expecting supply to improve and demand to slow down, so we are expecting the housing market to come into better balance,” Macklem said.

“But we do think it is going to take some time and it is something that we are watching closely,” he told the Canadian Senate’s banking committee.

Macklem reiterated that the central bank saw evidence people were buying houses with a view to selling them for a profit and said recent price jumps were not sustainable.

“Interest rates are unusually low, which means eventually there’s more scope for them to go up,” he said.

Last year, the central bank slashed its key interest rate to a record-low 0.25% and Macklem reiterated it would stay there at least until economic slack had been fully absorbed, which should be some time in the second half of 2022.

“The economic recovery is making good progress … (but) a complete recovery will still take some time. The third wave of the virus has been a setback,” he said.

The bank has seen some choppiness in growth in the second quarter of 2021 following a sharp economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the year, he added.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon; Editing by Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin)

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