OTTAWA– In response to Liberal pressure, the Conservative government has backtracked and agreed to provide reasonable mortgages and refinancing for housing co-operatives, said Liberals today.
“Today marks a long-overdue victory for housing co-ops across the country that will now have the ability to restructure their government-held mortgages following months of adamant opposition from this government,” said Liberal Housing critic John McCallum. “It was ridiculous that affordable housing mortgages had become a government cash cow, so I am very glad to see we were able to change the Conservatives’ minds.”
Until today the Conservative government had stubbornly asserted that housing co-operatives seeking to restructure their government-held mortgages, many with interest rates as high as 13.25%, were out of luck. Yesterday, in their response to a report by the House of Commons Special Committee on Co-operatives – a committee that was brought about by a Liberal motion – the Conservatives said they will now allow a ‘discounted pre-payment penalty’.
“The government must now promptly and clearly define the new eligibility criteria so that the co-ops stuck with mortgages up to four times today’s lending rates can begin to benefit,” said Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives Mauril Bélanger. “Also, if the Conservatives let the federal money tied to co-op housing agreements expire, thousands of low-income families, seniors, persons with disabilities and Aboriginal Peoples could find themselves homeless.”