Federal funding announced Wednesday in Saskatoon aims to fast-track the construction of housing for the city's most in-need residents.

The money is contingent on zoning changes, which will alter things like density requirements in some neighbourhoods.

The federal Housing Accelerator Fund promises to get more people housed in Saskatoon, and it comes at a critical time – with numerous factors contributing to a housing shortage, according to the mayor.

“We’re a city that people want to live in and are coming to, but the dynamics of building and the cost of inflation is creating a real supply challenge,” Mayor Charlie Clark said.

With this comes an issue that’s hard to ignore no matter which part of the city you’re in.

“As part of this we’re seeing an unprecedented amount of homelessness which is a huge issue that we’re facing,” he says.

In the plan, just over $41 million will be used to fast-track the development of 940 housing units over the next three years in Saskatoon.

In addition to homelessness, the plan aims to address a shortage of student housing near post-secondary institutions, which could open much needed space in other areas of the city.

“We want to get more student housing built quickly and, in the downtown, we have a number of applications for housing,” the mayor said.

Broadway is also among one of the first areas to see increased housing, as well as along transit routes in various neighbourhoods.

The member of parliament for employment and workforce was on hand for the announcement.

“Make sure we have the right mix of affordable and social housing right here in Saskatoon because yours is one of the greatest growing cities in the country,” Randy Boissonnault told the news conference Wednesday.

The federal program stipulates that the city change rules to allow things like four-unit dwellings on one lot and four stories near bus stops.

“We’ll continue to do our part to ensure that we will get housing built as soon as we can,” the mayor said.

Parking requirements that limit the number of on-street stalls will also need to be ammended to account for the higher density developments.

The program relies on various homebuilders and community groups to collaborate and make it a success. In ten years, it’s expected to spur the construction of more than 25,000 homes across the city.

The federal Housing Accelerator Fund was created in March 2023. As of the end of September 2023, more than $38.89 billion has been used to create almost 152,000 housing units and repair over 241,000 units.