National Housing Co-Investment: Capital for affordable, energy-efficient and accessible housing
August 4, 2023
With the latest round of CMHC’s Rapid Housing Initiative closed, community-minded organizations building housing are looking for other opportunities for funding. One place for organizations to look is the CMHC’s National Housing Co-Investment Fund (NHCF), which is for new affordable housing, as well as the renovation and repair of existing affordable and community housing.
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Build anything: Unlocking the potential of modular construction
June 13, 2023
One of the misconceptions about modular construction is that it’s only useful for certain types of projects, like single-family homes, townhouses or small apartments. There are situations where a project isn’t the right fit for modular, and Big Block is happy to choose a stick build in those situations. That said, modular construction is becoming increasingly sought-after for building wood-frame multi-family developments across the housing continuum, including townhouses and low to mid-rise residential and mixed-use complexes.
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Applying lessons learned from rapid housing to Canada’s Housing Accelerator Fund
June 2, 2023
Saskatchewan has outpaced the national average for construction progress under the Rapid Housing Initiative with 100% of units approved under the first two RHI rounds completed by this fall. The key is collaborative partnerships and advanced construction methods. This article examines what development productivity looks like in practice, and how it relates to the CMHC’s new Housing Accelerator Fund.
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Modular vs. stick build: The pros and cons of factory and on-site construction
April 5, 2023
As a development partner, Big Block brings two primary methods of construction to the forefront of a project: stick-built and modular construction. Stick-built refers to the traditional method of building a home on-site, while modular construction involves constructing a home in a factory setting and then transporting it to the building site. When we’re helping our partners navigate the development journey, we also need to help them evaluate which method is right for the project. 
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Innovative housing and strategic partnerships: Lessons in pre-development
February 14, 2023
It’s exciting to see a building rise up from the ground and tenants move in, but a successful project begins with good planning in the pre-development stage. At this stage, project teams are securing land and funding, and developing preliminary design concepts. A high level of pre-development helps keep costs stable and allows the project to progress at top speed once it gets going.
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Partnerships, networks, and expertise: How to find the right land for affordable housing projects
December 1, 2022
For Habitat for Humanity Saskatchewan CEO Denis Perrault, finding the right land is key to the success of the organization’s affordable housing projects, and the organization had just such a parcel of land allocated to them by the City of Saskatoon in the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood — but it had been sitting vacant for some time. "We knew we weren’t going to build immediately and rather than see that land vacant, we saw a different vision,” Denis said. Habitat released the land for Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. and the Saskatoon Tribal Council to use for rapid housing projects, creating a win-win situation and enabling the rapid development of two much-need housing complexes.
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Call for proposals still open for Indigenous Shelter and Transitional Housing Initiative
November 1, 2022
The Indigenous Shelter and Transitional Housing Initiative (ISTHI) is an exciting opportunity for organizations serving Indigenous clientele in the prairie provinces. The funding program provides access to capital and operational funding to build and run shelters and transitional homes for their communities. This funding opportunity also presents an excellent opportunity for collaboration and partnership between non-Indigenous and Indigenous housing and service delivery organizations, as well as Indigenous governments.
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Strong female leaders in housing empowering people to change
October 13, 2022
Housing is an industry where women have been historically underrepresented, but a transformation is underway. We spoke to the leaders at three community-minded organizations we’re working with about the prominent roles women are now holding in the industry, and what that means for the communities they serve.
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Breathing life into the Home Fire: Indigenous engagement in a rapid housing project
September 28, 2022
Architect David Fortin says translating Indigenous thinking and knowledge into contemporary architectural form is still a relatively new conversation, so when designing for an Indigenous client, he and his team greatly emphasize engagement. David worked on the Silver Sage Housing Corporation’s Horse Dance Lodge / misatimosimôwin mîhkowâp building in North Regina — a transitional place for people in need of immediate housing — and says community engagement was key to the success of the project.
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Elders’ Lodge features culturally-relevant garden to help improve food security
September 16, 2022
During the summer months, Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. President Shirley Isbister gets to enjoy healthy snacks from the Round Prairie Elders’ Lodge garden. The community garden at the Lodge is central to the extraordinary shared courtyard and acts as the heart of the building, with the south-facing apartment balconies and indoor community space looking out over it. The garden, along with many other features of the building, were incorporated into the design thanks to early consultations with Elders from the community — a step in the development process that Big Block has found to be crucial to creating purpose-built spaces that will serve communities for generations to come.
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