ONPHA hopeful budget will build affordable housing

    TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ - The Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association
appreciates the Ontario government's decision to invest $392-M of federal
funding in affordable housing.
    "We hope these commitments will serve as the building blocks of healthy
communities," says ONPHA Executive Director Sharad Kerur in response to
Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara's budget.
    "We look forward to working with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and
Housing on a good design on the use of these funds to provide permanent,
sustainable, community-based affordable housing."
    Kerur says ONPHA is happy to see the $392-M committed to affordable
housing as was originally intended, noting that $127-M has been dedicated to
new affordable housing or to rehabilitate existing housing. He says ONPHA
expects this will enhance the existing Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing
Program, adding that ONPHA has already submitted recommendations to MMAH on
this program.
    "We look forward to working with the Ministry to squeeze every home we
can out of this money for the 122,426 Ontario households on the social housing
waiting lists."
    ONPHA is also relieved, says Kerur, that $80-M of the $392-M will be
committed to off-reserve aboriginal housing, as was originally intended when
Ottawa gave the money to the province.
    And he says the $185-M in housing allowances is another step in helping
low income families. "It's essential that such funds be fairly distributed to
include existing tenants who need some financial help. We believe the
government has heard this important message."
    Ontario's community-based affordable housing sector is at a critical
juncture, says Kerur. The combination of long waiting lists for housing, fewer
affordable rental housing units, higher rents, insufficient new housing starts
and a decaying community housing stock means fewer units are available to meet
the need.
    "We want to work with the government to ensure this money has an impact
on the people who are waiting for affordable housing and improve the lives of
those who already depend on it."

    ONPHA represents 760 non-profit housing providers in 220 Ontario
communities. ONPHA members own and manage more than 150,000 non-profit housing
units and provide housing for approximately 400,000 people.

For further information:

For further information: ONPHA's Sharad Kerur at (416) 723-2835 (Cell)
or (416) 927-9144 ext. 102

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Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA)

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