Affordable housing in Newfoundland and Labrador gets a $93 million boost



    ST. JOHN'S, May 22 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada and the
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador are partnering on a joint investment
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 Newfoundland and Labrador.
    Both levels of government officially announced the signing of an
amendment to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Affordable Housing Program
Agreement and an extension of the Housing Renovation Program Agreement.
Overall, the provincial contribution is $50 million, while the federal
government is contributing a further $43 million resulting in a joint
investment of approximately $93 million over the next two years.
    The Honourable Ethel Cochrane, Senator for Newfoundland and Labrador, 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), along with the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of
Innovation, Trade and Rural Development and Minister Responsible for the Rural
Secretariat for Newfoundland, on behalf of the Honourable Trevor Taylor,
Minister of Transportation and Works, Responsible for Newfoundland Labrador
Housing, made the announcement today.
    The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister
for the Atlantic Gateway, was unable to attend this event but offered his
congratulations on the signing of this joint agreement 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 Senator Cochrane.
"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 both in Newfoundland and Labrador and
across Canada."
    "The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to building the
necessary partnerships and investing in programs and services that will enable
us to continue providing affordable housing for those most vulnerable," said
Minister Skinner. "In addition, this agreement will generate significant
economic stimulus for the retail and labour sectors of the housing industry,
throughout the Province."
    Today's announcement includes federal funding of almost $29 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 almost $29 million for these
initiatives, over the next two years.
    "Our Government is committed to making affordable housing available in
Newfoundland and Labrador and today's announcement is good news for this
province," said Minister MacKay. "This investment will help create much needed
jobs, strengthen the economy, and improve the quality of life for
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians."
    "The agreements and economic action plans announced today will support
significant social housing programs and infrastructure," said Minister Taylor.
"It will also encourage partnerships with private and non-profit sector
groups; address the housing needs of seniors and persons with disabilities and
help people live more independently."
    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 almost $35 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.

    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
                          NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

    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. As of today,
Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Prince
Edward Island, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut 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 also includes a total investment of $35
million for these two-year extensions.
    Overall, for both the stimulus funding and extensions, the federal
contribution is $43 million, while the province is contributing a further $50
million for the combined investment of $93 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 Newfoundland and Labrador, the
federal government provides $50.4 million annually to support some 12,650
households.




For further information:

For further information: Michelle Bakos, Press Secretary, Office of
Minister Finley, (819) 994-2482, michelle.bakos@hrsdc-rhdsc.gc.ca; Kristen
Scheel, Senior Media Relations Officer, Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation, (613) 748-2799, kscheel@cmhc-schl.gc.ca; David Salter, Director
of Communications, Department of Transportation and Works, (709) 729-3015,
(709) 691-3577, davidsalter@gov.nl.ca; Jenny Bowring, Communications Manager,
Newfoundland Labrador Housing, (709) 724-3055, jmbowring@nlhc.nl.ca; Dawn L.
Ring, Consultant, Communications and Marketing, Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation, (709) 772-5973, dring@cmhc-schl.gc.ca


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