The 2021 NHS Demonstrations Initiative: Community Land Trusts & Land Assembly Solutions

Written by Ellen McGowan

July 2, 2021

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is hosting the 2021 edition of the Demonstrations Initiative as part of the National Housing Strategy (NHS). This year’s edition is targeting a specific area of potential impact – community land trusts (CLTs) and land assembly solutions for affordable housing.

CLTs are non-profit corporations that acquire and hold land for the benefit of a community, with the main goal of preserving affordability. CLTs can be sector-led or community-led.

The Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust is a community-based CLT that is led by a group of residents and organizations in Toronto. Just last week, the City of Toronto announced that it will be transferring the ownership of 82 buildings to the land trust, ensuring long-term affordability and community control of the land.

The Ottawa Community Land Trust is an example of a sector-led CLT. It was incorporated as a non-profit organization in January 2021 and recently announced new details about the expansion of its Board.

Beyond CLTs, land assembly solutions are the other area of focus in this year’s competition. CMHC defines land assembly solutions as models or approaches for acquiring and managing land for affordable housing developments, for the benefit of local communities.


What is a Demonstration?

The NHS Demonstrations Initiative funds the demonstration of solutions that support housing affordability, the NHS priority areas, population groups and outcomes. Demonstrations can include:

  • “Testing or piloting a solution prototype in a real-world setting, documenting its performance and benefits based on evidence, including outcomes for its expected users and adopters, and NHS outcomes.
  • Highlighting promising innovations, building awareness and appetite to adopt and scale them.
  • Showing how to implement the innovation to potential adopters and replicators, through knowledge transfer, capacity-building, adaptation and replication processes, as appropriate.
  • Developing a scaling approach and implementing it” (CMHC, 2021, p. 5).


Fund Details

A total of two million dollars is available in funding for this year’s competition. Funding for successful projects will range from $100,000 to a maximum of $250,000.

Applicants must select one of the following streams under which to submit their proposal:

Who can apply?

Affordable housing providers, Indigenous organizations, government agencies and corporations (provincial/territorial/municipal), Canadian companies and associations, private and non-profit builders and developers, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and innovation hubs are all welcome to apply.


How to apply?

Review the Applicant Guide and create an online profile here to submit the requested documents.

Interested applicant teams may attend the Virtual Orientation Workshop on July 7th (ENG) or July 8th (FR), as well as book an appointment with CMHC for Preliminary Eligibility Screening.

The deadline for submissions is August 27, 2021 at 2 p.m. (Eastern Time).

We invite you to contact Cahdco ( if you would like further assistance with your application or affordable housing project.



CMHC. (2021). NHS Demonstrations Initiative Applicant Guide 2021. Retrieved from

Ellen McGowan

Development Project Manager

July 2, 2021