More affordable housing announced for Cape Breton residents



    NORTH SYDNEY, NS, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - Cape Breton residents will soon have
access to more affordable housing in Sydney, North Sydney and Sydney Mines.
Through the Canada-Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Agreement, 130 units of
affordable housing for families, singles, seniors and people with disabilities
are being built or renovated.
    Judy Streatch, Minister of Community Services and Gerald Keddy, MP for
South Shore - St. Margaret's, on behalf of Monte Solberg, Minister of Human
Resources and Social Development, announced today, Oct. 5, two new housing
projects and confirmed construction has started on a third previously
announced project.
    "We are committed to investing in affordable housing in Cape Breton,"
said Ms Streatch. "With the help of our federal partners and business
partners, we are creating and preserving affordable housing across the
island."
    "Canada's New Government is committed to making affordable housing
available in Nova Scotia and across Canada for those who need it most," said
Mr. Keddy. "The creation of these new units in the Sydney area, will allow
families, seniors and low income individuals to live in safe, quality housing
at an affordable cost and start a new page in their lives."
    Through the Canada-Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Agreement, the federal
government has contributed over $1.8 million in capital funding for the three
projects and the Department of Community Services is providing $285,000 in
funding to subsidize rents for some of the units.
    Northside Property Holdings is converting a former commercial building at
177 Queen Street in North Sydney into six family apartments, including one
wheelchair accessible unit. The total project cost is estimated at $282,000.
The project received $108,000 from the government of Canada under the
Canada-Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Agreement.
    In Sydney, Donovan Rentals renovated 104 affordable family rowhouses at
MacAulay's Lane, Rockcliff Crescent and Sidella Drive in Sydney. The
$1.3 million project received $1.2 million in federal funding under the
agreement.
    The third project by New Deal Developments is a 20-unit affordable
housing project for singles and seniors on Pitt Street in Sydney Mines. The
$1.3 million project is under construction has received $500,000 in federal
funding and $285,000 in funding for rent subsidies from the province of Nova
Scotia.
    By March 2009, the federal government, the province and its partners will
commit $56.2 million through the Canada-Nova Scotia Affordable Housing
Agreement for the construction or renovation of affordable housing in the
province.
    Information on the Canada-Nova Scotia Affordable Housing agreement is
available at local housing services offices or on the Department of Community
Services website at www.gov.ns.ca/coms.

    
    A backgrounder is attached.


                                 Backgrounder
               Canada-Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Agreement

    First Phase

    The Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia signed an Affordable Housing
Program Agreement on September 13, 2002 - the first phase provided federal
funding of $18.63 million together with matching contributions of
$18.63 million from the Province of Nova Scotia.
    The 2001 Speech from the Throne indicated the Government of Canada would
help stimulate the creation of more affordable rental housing. The
federal/provincial/territorial housing ministers met twice to finalize details
of an affordable housing initiative that would address the needs and
priorities of individual jurisdictions while meeting the goal of increasing
the supply of affordable housing. The final framework was developed and agreed
to on November 30, 2001 and includes the following:

    - Provinces and territories have the primary responsibility for housing
      program design and delivery;
    - Provinces and territories require flexible programs to address their
      housing needs;
    - The initiative needs to create affordable housing for low- to moderate-
      income households;
    - Units funded will remain affordable for a minimum of 10 years;
    - Maximum subsidy is $25,000 per unit, and;
    - Provinces and territories will be required to match federal
      contributions overall.
    

    Second Phase:

    The new agreement was signed March 3, 2005 and will see each level of
government contribute $9.46 million for the creation or renovation of
affordable housing in Nova Scotia. The second phase reflects the framework
determined in phase one of the Affordable Housing Program Agreement, with the
exception that the maximum subsidy is greater, and that potential households
or clients, must be eligible to be on the social housing waiting list.

    Other Government of Canada Housing Support in Nova Scotia

    The $28.09 million federal contribution builds on current Government of
Canada expenditures on housing in the province of Nova Scotia. The Government
of Canada annually supports housing with approximately $80.9 million in
grants, contributions and subsidies which primarily serve some 22,350
lower-income families, seniors, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal people,
and victims of domestic violence.
    This includes funds for existing social housing and approximately
$7 million for the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP), Home
Adaptations for Seniors' Independence (HASI), Emergency Repair Program (ERP)
and the Shelter Enhancement Program (SEP).

    Other Government of Nova Scotia Housing Support Programs

    The provincial government offers a number of programs to help
lower-income households maintain, acquire, or rent safe, adequate, and
affordable housing. Through housing authorities, we own and operate over
12,000 rental housing units for families and seniors. Rent is based on
household income. We also provide grants and loans for home repair and
additions, as well as mortgage funds to purchase or build modest houses.




For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Kristen Tynes, Community
Services, (902) 424-4038, tyneskja@gov.ns.ca; Emely Poitras-Benedict, Canada
Mortgage and Housing Corporation, (902) 426-8127, epoitras@cmhc.ca


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