London, Ont.’s flexibility when it comes to its housing strategy made it the easy choice as the first city to secure funding under the federal government’s new Housing Accelerator Fund, Housing Minister Sean Fraser said.

On Wednesday, the federal government announced London would receive $74 million toward its plan to build 2,000 new homes in the city. The funding announcement is the first under the government’s $4-billion accelerator program, first announced in 2022.

Fraser called London’s proposal “uniquely strong,” but only awarded the money after the city approved the federal government’s requests for housing projects near public transit and bylaw tweaks to allow four apartment units in a dwelling. 

“When they were able to add the additional competitive features to their application, it made the decision easier to make London be the first successful applicant through this fund,” Fraser told BNN Bloomberg in a television interview Wednesday.

Fraser said the money is intended to help boost the housing supply in the cities and communities that apply for grants, but how they choose to use the money will vary on a case-by-case basis.

This is far from the only announcement either, Fraser said the government has seen “hundreds and hundreds” of applications from cities of all sizes.

“We’ve now set the bar for what we expect,” Fraser said. “We expect cities to legalize housing more broadly, we expect cities to build more housing near transit.”

Fraser also teased that more announcements from the Housing Accelerator Fund would be revealed in the fall.