Affordable housing in New Brunswick gets a $99-million boost



    FREDERICTON, May 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada and the
Province of New Brunswick are partnering on a joint investment worth $99
million to build new and renovate existing affordable housing. This investment
will help create jobs, strengthen the economy, and improve the quality of life
for residents of New Brunswick.
    Both levels of government officially signed an amendment to the
Canada-New Brunswick Affordable Housing Program Agreement and an extension of
the Housing Renovation Program Agreement. Overall, the federal contribution is
$53 million, while the province is contributing a further $46 million.
    The Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veteran Affairs, 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), joined the Honourable Mary Schryer, Social Development
Minister for New Brunswick and Minister Responsible for Housing, at a signing
ceremony today. The Honourable Shawn Graham, Premier of New Brunswick, also
attended.
    "Our government is working hard to support Canadians during these
challenging economic times, and we have moved aggressively to ensure our
Economic Action Plan is implemented rapidly," said Minister Thompson. "We are
helping our most vulnerable Canadians, including seniors and persons with
disabilities, to access suitable, affordable housing, as well as making needed
renovations to existing social housing both in New Brunswick and across
Canada."
    "Improved access to safe, secure and affordable housing will help us
achieve self-sufficiency in our province, while also helping our economy by
stimulating record affordable housing developments over the next two years,"
said Minister Schryer. "It is estimated that every $1 million invested in
housing generates economic spin-offs worth $2.5 million."
    Today's announcement includes federal funding of $37.3 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. The province will also contribute $37.3 million for these initiatives,
over the next two years.
    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 (AHI) and the renovation
programs for low-income households for two years. Today's announcement
includes a further combined investment of $24 million by both levels of
government for the two-year extensions to build new affordable housing and
assist low-income households with needed renovations to their homes.
    "Our government is committed to the creation of more affordable housing
for those in need," said Premier Graham. "This agreement will provide for the
creation of more than 500 new homes, while a further $39 million will be
invested in repairs and upgrades to existing social housing infrastructure."
    The announcement was held at Luther Place Apartments, a new 45-unit
affordable housing project for seniors and individuals that celebrated its
official opening today.
    Located at 1039 Regent Street, the project received a total of $550,000
in federal funding under the Canada-New Brunswick Affordable Housing
Initiative and $690,000 from the Housing Trust Fund, for a total of $1.24
million to off-set construction costs, as well as approximately $3 million in
rent supplement assistance from the Province of New Brunswick for 45 units.
    "I am very pleased that the federal government and New Brunswick are
partnering to provide much needed funding for affordable housing in our
communities," said Ron Steeves, President of the New Brunswick Non-Profit
Housing Association. "These investments will help lower-income people, seniors
and families, access affordable housing in New Brunswick."

    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. For more information on
Canada's Economic Action Plan, call 1-800-O Canada.

    
               INVESTMENTS IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR CANADIANS
                                NEW BRUNSWICK
    

    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 social housing renovation;
    - $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
    - $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. In addition to New
Brunswick, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island,
Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories have
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 includes a total combined investment of $24
million, by both levels of government, for these two-year extensions.
    Overall, for both the stimulus funding and extensions, the federal
contribution is $53 million, while the province is contributing a further $46
million for the combined investment of $99 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. In New Brunswick, the federal
government provides more than $56 million annually to support some 17,750
households.
    It is the mandate of the New Brunswick Housing Corporation to ensure the
provision of quality, affordable, accessible housing for New Brunswick
citizens.




For further information:

For further information: Michelle Bakos, Press Secretary, Office of
Minister Finley, (819) 994-2482, michelle.bakos@hrsdc-rhdsc.gc.ca;
Marie-Andrée Bolduc, Communications, Office of the Premier, (506) 453-2144,
Marie-Andree.Bolduc@gnb.ca; Kristen Scheel, Media Relations Officer, Canada
Mortgage and Housing Corporation, (613) 748-2799, kscheel@cmhc-schl.gc.ca;
Sonya Gilks, Communications, Social Development, Province of New Brunswick,
(506) 444-3730, sonya.gilks@gnb.ca; Patricia Montreuil, Communications and
Marketing Consultant, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, (506) 866-8047,
pmontreu@cmhc-schl.gc.ca


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