Government of Canada Supports Aboriginal Youth in Cape Breton



    ESKASONI, NS, June 26 /CNW/ - Representatives from the Government of
Canada and the Eskasoni First Nation community joined today to celebrate the
official opening of the Eskasoni Crisis and Referral Center. The project was
developed by the Eskasoni First Nation, the largest Mi'kmaq community in
Atlantic Canada. The 4-bed project provides on-site counselling services for
Aboriginal youth at risk.
    The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister
for the Atlantic Gateway, 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), and Eskasoni Chief Charlie
Dennis, made the announcement today.
    "The Government of Canada is committed to making affordable housing
available in Nova Scotia and across Canada for those who need it most," said
Minister MacKay. "With the opening of this project, Aboriginal youth at risk
in Eskasoni can access safe and suitable housing. And with more jobs being
created and more skills being learned, this community will build a stronger
future for themselves."
    The Eskasoni Crisis and Referral Center received a forgivable loan in the
amount of $195,000 through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC)
Shelter Enhancement Program to offset the construction costs. This program
assists in repairing, rehabilitating and improving existing shelters for women
and their children, youth or men who are victims of family violence, and
provides financial assistance for the acquisition or construction of new
shelters and second-stage housing where needed.
    "This youth crisis centre is very important to our community and it is
also helping Aboriginal communities in Unama'ki", said Chief Charlie Dennis.

    As part of Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada
recently announced $400 million in funding, over the next two years, to
support on-reserve housing. These contributions are dedicated to new social
housing projects, the remediation of existing social housing and complementary
housing activities through programming from CMHC and Indian and Northern
Affairs Canada (INAC). This funding will also provide an economic stimulus for
many First Nations and rural areas by creating jobs, developing skilled trades
and supporting small businesses.

    As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 60 years of
experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally
sustainable, and affordable homes - homes that will continue to create vibrant
and healthy communities and cities across the country.




For further information:

For further information: Michelle Bakos, Press Secretary, Office of
Minister Finley, (819) 994-2482; Giselle Thibault, Communications and
Marketing Consultant, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, (902) 426-8320;
Jaime Batiste, Eskasoni First Nation, (902) 379-2800


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