Canada-Alberta agreement boosts affordable housing funding



    CALGARY, June 25 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada and the
Government of Alberta 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
Alberta.
    Both levels of government officially signed an amendment to the
Canada-Alberta Affordable Housing Program Agreement and announced $386 million
over the next two years in Alberta.
    The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment, 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 Yvonne Fritz, Alberta Minister of
Housing and Urban Affairs, 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 Minister Prentice.
"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 Alberta and across Canada."
    "This strong partnership between the governments of Alberta and Canada
will strengthen the economy, create jobs and help low to moderate income
people across the province," said Minister Fritz. "The additional investment
in Alberta's social housing portfolio means we will be able to expand upon
planned maintenance and provide upgraded homes for families in need."
    Today's announcement includes federal funding of $95 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 Alberta Government is also contributing $95 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 combined investment of $48 million by both levels of government for
the two-year extension of the AHI to build new affordable housing. The
province is also contributing $132 million for affordable housing purposes
over the next two years. Today's announcement also includes more than $16
million in federal funding to assist low-income households with needed
renovations to their homes.
    Overall, the federal contribution is $135 million, while the province is
contributing a further $251 million from its Capital Plan, for a combined
investment of $386 million.
    Today's announcement was held at Alice Bissett Place, celebrating the
official opening of a new 114-unit affordable housing project for seniors,
individuals and persons with special needs.
    Located at 2990 - 17 Street SE, the project received a total of $6.1
million in federal funding under the Canada-Alberta Affordable Housing
Initiative and $100,000 in Proposal Development Funding, for a total of $6.2
million to off-set project costs. The project also received approximately $6.1
million from the Province of Alberta.
    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 or visit
www.actionplan.gc.ca.
    Alberta Housing and Urban Affairs aims to create more than 11,000
affordable housing units in Alberta by 2012 and in March, released Canada's
first provincial strategy to end homelessness.
    For more information on Alberta's housing initiatives, visit
www.housing.alberta.ca.
    Backgrounder attached.

    
                                 BACKGROUNDER
               INVESTMENTS IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR CANADIANS

    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.
    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 (AHI)
and the federal renovation programs for low-income households were extended
for two years. Today's announcement includes $48 million from both levels of
government for the two-year extension of the AHI. In addition, as part of the
two-year extension of the renovation programs, $16 million in federal funding
will be available to assist low-income households with needed renovations to
their homes.
    Overall, for both the stimulus funding and extensions, the federal
contribution is $135 million, while the province is contributing a further
$251 million, for the combined investment of $386 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 Alberta, the federal government
provides almost $126 million annually to support some 39,050 households.
    




For further information:

For further information: Michelle Bakos, Press Secretary, Office of
Minister Finley, (819) 994-2482, michelle.bakos@hrsdc-rhdsc.gc.ca; Katrina
Bluetchen, Communications, Alberta Housing and Urban Affairs, (780) 427-4897,
Katrina.bluetchen@gov.ab.ca, To call toll-free within Alberta, dial 310-0000;
Kimberlee Jones, Communications Consultant, Prairie and Territories Business
Centre, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, (403) 515-3048,
kjones@cmhc-schl.gc.ca


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