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Soft Costs Grant

Saint John takes next step in its Affordable Housing Action Plan with the launch of a “Soft Costs” grant program to support the creation of new affordable housing supply

Applications are now being accepted

At its meeting on April 29, 2024, Saint John Council approved a new grant program aimed at helping non-profit organizations with pre-construction “soft costs” funds needed to kick start affordable housing projects in Saint John. The Soft Costs Grant Program fulfills the Affordable Housing Plan’s goal of investing in non-market housing solutions by coordinating local affordable housing efforts between levels of government to gain access to these funding programs. Funding for the program will be provided through the Government of Canada’s Housing Accelerator Fund, for a period of three years after which it will be reviewed. This federal fund supports municipalities in removing barriers to build more affordable homes, faster.

The Affordable Housing Soft Costs Grant Program is intended to increase the supply of affordable housing units by funding non-profit housing developers during the pre-construction stage of a project. The program provides 15 per cent of the soft costs prior to construction and up to a maximum of $25,000 per project to support the development of eligible affordable housing projects. 

Eligible costs include Consultant fees for professional engineering, architectural, or accounting services including:

  • the preparation of drawings and designs
  • site surveys
  • environmental site assessments
  • geotechnical reports
  • energy and accessibility modeling studies
  • project viability studies 
  • building permit fees

The program supplements Saint John’s Affordable Housing Grant program, which provides funding for each eligible affordable housing unit created. The City recognizes that affordable housing developers are often required to incur expenses during the preliminary stage of a project as part of submission of a proposal for provincial and/or federal funding programs. The Soft Costs Grant Program, combined with other funding, has the potential to enable a project to move forward at this critical funding stage. The program may also leverage other early phase development programs such as the Regional Development Corporation’s Pre-construction Fund (75 per cent of costs up to 90 per cent total) and CMHC’s Seed Funding Program. These programs are competitive and do not cover 100 per cent of the costs.

Interested parties are encouraged to contact the City at to determine eligibility of their project. Minimum application requirements are the following:

  • The applicant must be a registered non-profit organization.
  • The project proposes the creation of five net new affordable housing units.
  • The project must be located in the serviced area of the City and have received any required land use/planning approvals.
  • If it is a mixed-income project, at least 50% of the project must consist of affordable units.
  • The project must be new construction, conversion of an existing commercial/institutional use, or rehabilitation of a residential building that results in net new housing units.

Applications for the Affordable Housing Soft Costs Grant Program are available through the city website and evaluated quarterly, with the first round of reviews occurring in June 2024. Applicants are encouraged to apply before then, as funding is limited.

Further information about the Soft Costs Grant Program and Affordable Housing Action Plan can be found on the City’s website or by contacting