Affordable housing in Canada's North gets $294-million boost



    YELLOWKNIFE, NWT, May 22 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada and each
of the three territories, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon, are
partnering on joint investments to build new and renovate existing affordable
housing. These investments will help create jobs, strengthen the economy and
improve the quality of life for residents of Canada's North.
    The federal government and the governments of each of the three
territories officially signed amendments to the existing agreement for the
Affordable Housing Initiative. Nunavut and Northwest Territories also signed
an extension to the Housing Renovation Program Agreement. Combined, this will
mean an investment of $294 million, across all three territories, over the
next two years.
    Randy Hoback, Member of Parliament for Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, on
behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills
Development Canada and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation (CMHC), the Honourable Hunter Tootoo, Minister Responsible for
Nunavut Housing Corporation, the Honourable Michael McLeod, Minister
Responsible for Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, and the Honourable
Jim Kenyon, Minister Responsible for Yukon Housing Corporation, made the
announcement at a signing ceremony today.
    "The Government of Canada continues to work hard to support Canadians
during these challenging economic times, and has moved aggressively to ensure
Canada's Economic Action Plan is implemented rapidly," said MP Hoback. "We are
helping the most vulnerable, including seniors and persons with disabilities,
access suitable, affordable housing, as well as making needed renovations to
existing social housing in Canada's North."
    "We're very pleased to continue our strong working relationship with the
CMHC and the federal government," said Minister Tootoo. "This funding and
program extension means that materials for 285 new public housing units will
be purchased for construction next summer."
    "Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, Yukon Housing Corporation will
create lasting legacies for Yukoners throughout the territory," said Jim
Kenyon, Minister Responsible for Yukon Housing Corporation. "The new
construction and upgrade projects will generate jobs and economic spin-offs,
in addition to increasing Yukon's social housing inventory."
    "The Government of the Northwest Territories is very pleased that the
Government of Canada has made this commitment to improving housing conditions
in the North. This partnership between the three Territorial governments and
Canada will significantly enhance the Territories' ongoing plan of housing
delivery and significantly improve the lives of Northern residents through the
provision of affordable housing and stimulus to the Northern economy", said
The Honourable Michael McLeod, Minister responsible for the Northwest
Territories Housing Corporation.
    Today's announcement includes federal funding for the territories of $212
million, over two years, under Canada's Economic Action Plan as part of a
one-time investment of more than $2 billion to build new and renovate existing
social housing in Canada. This includes $200 million for Northern housing,
which does not require cost-sharing by the territories, as well as $12 million
for programs to assist seniors and persons with disabilities and to renovate
and retrofit existing social housing.
    In addition, territorial funding for these initiatives will include $6
million from Nunavut, $55 million from Northwest Territories and $4 million
from Yukon, over the next two years, for a further $65 million contribution.
    These investments build upon the $1.9 billion commitment for housing and
homelessness programs announced by the Government of Canada in September 2008,
which extended the Affordable Housing Initiative and the renovation programs
for low-income households for two years. Today's announcement also includes a
further combined investment of $17 million by the federal and territorial
governments for the two-year extensions to build new affordable housing and
assist low-income households with needed renovations to their homes.
    Overall, the federal contribution is some $222 million, while the
territories are contributing about $72 million for a combined investment of
$294 million.
    CMHC has been Canada's national housing agency for more than 60 years.
CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality,
affordable homes and making vibrant and sustainable communities and cities a
reality across the country.
    To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working
to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at
1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc.ca/housingactionplan. To learn more about
Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca

    To watch this event on-line, visit the Newsroom on CMHC's website.

    Backgrounder attached.

    

                                 BACKGROUNDER

             INVESTMENTS IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN CANADA'S NORTH

    The Government of Canada's commitment to affordable housing is
significant.
    Overall, Canada's Economic Action Plan provides a total of $7.8 billion to
build quality housing, stimulate construction, create jobs, encourage home
ownership and enhance the energy efficiency of Canadian homes. In the process,
it will provide new and renovated housing for more than 200,000 Canadian
households.
    Of the $7.8 billion, more than $2 billion is provided through CMHC to
build new and renovate existing social housing.  This will include:

    - $1 billion for renovation and retrofit of existing social housing;
    - $600 million for new housing and repairs to existing social housing on-
      reserve and in the North broken down as follows:
    - $400 million for on-reserve communities
    - $200 million for the North (no requirement for cost-sharing)
    - $400 million for housing for low-income seniors; and
    - $75 million for housing for people with disabilities.
    

    Most of this funding, $1.525 billion of the more than $2 billion, is
being delivered by provinces and territories through amendments to existing
agreements. Provinces and territories will design and deliver these
initiatives, as well as cost-match the federal investment. As of today,
Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova
Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have all signed
amendments to the existing agreement for the Affordable Housing Initiative
(AHI).
    The federal government will directly deliver the remaining $550 million
of this $2 billion funding: $150 million for the renovation and retrofit of
social housing projects administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation (CMHC), and $400 million in new construction and repair for
housing on-reserve through CMHC and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
    In September 2008, the Government of Canada also announced $1.9 billion
over five years for housing and homelessness programs for low-income
Canadians. As part of this investment, the Affordable Housing Initiative and
the federal renovation programs for low-income households were extended for
two years. Today's announcement also includes a further combined investment of
almost $17 million, from the federal and territorial governments, for these
two-year extensions.
    Overall, for both the stimulus funding and extensions, the federal
contribution is $222 million, while the territories are contributing $72
million for the combined investment of $294 million.
    As well, up to $2 billion in low-cost repayable loans for housing-related
infrastructure projects will be made available to towns and cities across the
country.

    The Government of Canada, through CMHC, spends approximately $1.7 billion
annually to support almost 625,000 low- and moderate-income households in
existing social housing across Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Michelle Bakos, Press Secretary,
Office of Minister Finley, (819) 994-2482, michelle.bakos@hrsdc-rhdsc.gc.ca;
Peter Scott, President, Nunavut Housing Corporation, (867) 975-7201,
pscott@gov.nu.ca; Kimberlee Jones, Communications Consultant, Prairie and
Territories Business Centre, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, (403)
515-3048, kjones@cmhc-schl.gc.ca; Emily Younker, Cabinet Communications,
Government of Yukon, (867) 633-7961, emily.younker@gov.yk.ca; Stephen Pretty,
Manager,  Strategic Planning, Policy and  Communications, NWT Housing
Corporation, (867) 902-6533, stephen_pretty @gov.nt.ca; Nathalie Harwood,
Communications, Yukon Housing  Corporation  Government of Yukon, (867)
667-5075, nathalie.harwood@ gov.yk.ca

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Government of the Northwest Territories

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GOVERNMENT OF NUNAVUT

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